Reaching Equality is a Team Effort
The Chair of the ENGSO Equality Within Sport (EWS) Committee, Niina Toroi shares her opinion on why equality needs to be addressed in the European sport policy agenda and explains how the EWS Committee contributes to this important discussion.
“Dreams. Unity. Courage. Strength.” These are the words how former ENGSO President and former EWS Chair, Birgitta Kervinen opened her speech when receiving the IOC Women and Sport World Trophy Award in 2017 to define the equality work that has been done over the years.
The former European Women and Sport, today the ENGSO Equality Within Sport Committee, was founded 30 years ago and since then the group and its network have actively advocated for the topics of equality within the world of sports. Now, the culture of sport offers more opportunities to girls and women than ever before. However, promoting equality has not reached the end of the road. In fact, the work has only begun.
Topics of equity, harassment, transgender participation, LGBT rights, women’s leadership in sport or equal representation are constantly making the media headlines and are hot topics in social media. Sport organisations and sport leaders are on a constant radar and need to be prepared to answer how equity is covered in their everyday actions.
ENGSO EWS aims to activate and inspire European sport organisations to succeed reaching equality. We want to be the unified voice for equality within sports in Europe. We believe that reaching equality is a team effort. Your voice and actions matter as well.
Over the years a large number of people have influenced the sport politics to place the issue of equality onto the agenda and act. Today, the ENGSO EWS consists of five committed members who have special expertise on equality from the LGBT, marginalised groups, Paralympic movement, sport leadership and grassroots sports point of view. The current members of the group are David Hofstetter (Switzerland), Ioanna Karyofylli (Greece), Rachel May (UK) and Anabela Sousa Vaz dos Reis (Portugal), chaired by Niina Toroi (Finland).
Dreams. Unity. Courage. Strength. The words can still serve as the guiding principles to our work today.
Dream of an equal world of sport is still our driving force. We need to be united, as a team we are stronger. Courage is needed to allow change to happen. It takes strength to act, concrete actions matter – and we can all play our part.
By joining the ENGSO EWS Facebook group you can stay tuned and contribute to the discussion about equality topics in Europe.