• ENGSO

#BEACTIVE squat & talk: Sweat, laughter and interesting discussions


ENGSO, a proud partner of the European Week of Sport, organises each year an event to celebrate the week and to #BeActive. Along with ENGSO’s main partner, the European Lotteries, this year we teamed up with another like-minded organisation, Panathlon International.

The #BEACTIVE squat & talk was held on 24-25 September in Brussels, Belgium. The first day, themed “#BEACTIVE & squat”, was led by Maciej Antoni Szczepaniak, also known as FitFaza. The participants took part in an intensive warm-up session, some physical games, and then jumped right into the Bring Sally Up Challenge. After the intense workout loose chats took place over a casual lunch.

The second day was more about talking, particularly about gender and sports. The keynote speech was presented by PhD Jenny Svender, an expert on gender equality at the Swedish Sports Confederation. She presented the characteristics of a successful gender equality work in sports from a research perspective, emphasising the importance of being aware of the gender norms that lead to inequalities at all levels of sport.

“In order to be a good leader in sport, women have to be twice as good as men – because the norm of good leadership in sport is masculine”, Jenny Svender said.


After a highly interesting debate with questions and comments from the audience, the programme continued with a panel further discussing the topic. Policy Officer responsible for gender equality and good governance Paola Ottonello brought her expertise and insight as well as the views of the European Commission to the panel.

"Gender-based violence in sport was an issue also before #metoo – researchers came to the European Commission, saying that something needs to be done", Paola Ottonello said.

The discussion got some interesting perspectives also from two elite athletes. European championship silver medalist long distance runner, Abdi Bashir, co-founder of the Belgian nonprofit association “Sport Around” that makes sport accessible for children living in poverty, said that the organisation’s activities do not segregate girls’ and boys’ training, unlike many team sports do.

The third panelist, European champion sprinter Eline Berings, agreed that in her profession, she considers herself foremost an athlete and not a representative of her gender. Jenny Svender’s presentation made her think about the manifestations of gender in her sport:

"I thought about the many top female track & field athletes that are displaying their femininity with makeup, nails and so on. But you don't have to do it, if you don't feel like it!"


After the panel, Professor Yves Vanden Auweele of KU Leuven took the stage, presenting the concept of integrity management as a solution to ethical issues in sport. Integrity management is a corporate tool to help sports organisations promote integrity in a structured and sustainable manner.


The official programme ended with a Q&A session after Professor Auweele’s presentation, but the discussions were far from over: they continued over lunch and on social media as well.

For more pictures, visit the Facebook gallery of the event.

The European Week of Sport is an initiative of the European Commission, aiming to promote sport and physical activity across Europe. The #BEACTIVE squat & talk event was organised with the generous support of Partena Professional, Pharumlegal and FitFaza.

#BeActive #EuropeanCommission #EuropeanWeekofSport #PaolaOttonello #ElineBerings #AbdiBashir #YvesVandenAuweele #JennySvender #PanathlonInternational #Pharumlegal #PartenaProfessional #FitFaza #EuropeanLotteries

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