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Carole Oglesby, pioneer of women’s sport, speaks to sportanddev

Carole Oglesby, pioneer of women’s sport, speaks to sportanddev

One of the co-chairs of the International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) is Carole Oglesby, who has been an advocate for women’s sport since the 1960s. She shared her thoughts about the role sport can play in women’s lives and about the international women’s sport movement.

Carole Oglesby wears multiple hats when it comes to professional matters. She was a national level athlete herself, coached multiple sports, worked as a sport psychology consultant and has been involved in the women’s sport movement throughout her career.

Early involvement
“It was a very personal mission in the beginning,” explains Carole. “When I was a college student and young professional, my colleagues were, at best, neutral to women and sport. Many were actively opposed. They believed that women should be involved only with their family. There was a part of me knowing that this picture of women wasn’t healthy.”

Her first international development experience dates back to the 1970s, when she was involved in a series of projects in Central and South America with women coaches/educators from the USA. Carole recalls her memories of the projects:

“We prepared women to be coaches. We were trying to break women out of the very narrow roles they were allowed to play. We didn’t want to go in like the ’we-know-it-all‘ Americans, so we always invited an equal number of in-country women, and together we offered workshops. It was about basic coaching skills, but was also about women’s empowerment.”

When asked about the secret behind changing attitudes towards women’s physical activity, she says: “I believe in the power of systems and organisations. If you can affect systems, you have more probability of making a lasting change in people’s lives.”

Latest mission
She recently became co-chair of the IWG, a coalition of government and non-governmental organisations, which aims to foster sustainable sporting culture based on gender equality that enables and values the full involvement of girls and women at all levels of sport and physical activity.

Having been involved in different roles in the organisation since its establishment in 1994, she knows it very well, and has a clear vision of her role as co-chair for the upcoming four years.

In partnership with the leaders from Botswana, she would like to strengthen the relationship between the IWG, the IOC and the UN bodies dealing with sport, and would like to make women’s sport development more visible in UN sport and development actions.

Also, she hopes that the IWG can activate intellectual resources to programmes in the field. Not being able to provide direct financial help, the IWG could provide support to these projects by activating its networks.

Carole is an experienced and powerful advocate for women’s sport. But she is much more than that. She maintains that whenever sport-based projects for social causes are activated, we should recognise and consider all forms of diversity.

“All sport for development projects have to be sensitive to address all kinds of diversities” – this is what she believes in and works towards.


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Mariann Bardocz-Bencsik


Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 23:00