Discussions around gender equality in sport in Zagreb

At the end of October, Zagreb hosted two events around women’s empowerment and gender equality in sport. ENGSO were present at both: our Special Advisor, Sallie Barker and the Chair of ENGSO Equality Within Sport (EWS) Committee, Niina Toroi, took an active part in both events.

On the 23-24th October, the “ALL IN - Towards Gender Balance in Sport” project held its second workshop that was attended by over 25 people from ministries and sports organisations across Europe.

The initiative is organised by the Council of Europe (CoE) and co-funded by the European Union. ENGSO’s role in the project is to assist in the collection of information, resources and examples of good practice from our members, which will be included in the online library. The collection of this information is going well and the CoE had received over 100 examples of good practices which the workshop delegates discussed.

After some highly interesting presentations by representatives of CoE, the European Commission and the European Institute for Gender Equality, further steps were discussed, including the organisation of regional seminars that will be held in January 2019. The seminars aim to give tools and information to the national coordinators to ensure that data collection and the toolkit with best practices on gender equality will be implemented to action across Europe.


On the 25th October, another event was organised in the same venue around this topic. The conference was entitled “Breaking the cycle of inequality in sport” and focused on fixing gender balance in leadership and preventing violence against women. ​​Niina Toroi held a very interesting presentation on how to break through the glass ceiling in sports organisations, pointing out that "every single regional sport organisation, every single national sport organisation, every single international sport organisation must place the issue of gender equality onto their agenda and act".


Later in the programme, Sallie Barker presented our former Erasmus+ project, SCORE at a ‘world cafe’ round table discussion.

The aim of these discussions was to identify the key issues affecting women’s involvement in sports leadership and how to address gender-based violence. An action plan will be developed following the conference on addressing these issues in Croatia.

The conference proved that equality work is still needed everywhere in Europe. The presentations and arguments showed that when equality is put into the agenda and targets are set, it makes an impact.

Nonetheless, concrete decisions and actions are needed from the top to the bottom to reach equality.

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