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IWG World Conference on Women and Sport Theme 4: Welcome and empower all through sport

Copyrights: Flickr: U.S. Embassy Chengdu

IWG World Conference on Women and Sport Theme 4: Welcome and empower all through sport

What are the barriers to sport participation for women and girls?

There are a number of factors that determine potential barriers to sport for women. The first is opportunity, as many women are systematically discouraged from joining sport teams. In some cases they are banned from attending matches altogether. In fact, a group of women in Iran recently made headlines for disguising themselves as men in order to attend a football game.

Others face economic barriers, as conference speaker Linda Driscoll explains:

Sports are about so much more than competition. The lessons learnt through teamwork and being physically active are critical and carry over into every aspect of our lives. All girls deserve these experiences, regardless of economic or social situations."

Driscoll is the founder and CEO of Dream Big!, an organisation that provides sport equipment and opportunities for girls from disadvantaged communities.

The conference will also explore inclusion of athletes with disabilities, as K.D. Mpuang (Department of Educational Foundations, University of Botswana) will discuss experiences of deaf netball players in Botswana. Other topics include homophobia in sport, incorporating life skills into sport programmes and the role of coaches and parents in motivating athletes.

An overall theme connecting these topics is how sport can foster empowerment, with speakers presenting case studies and best practices from a range of countries and sports. For example, Ofra Abramovich will speak about Mamanet, the largest mother’s cachibol league in Israel. The group welcomes all mothers, regardless of background, culture or fitness level, and their reach is rapidly growing to other countries.

Many organisations promote inclusion and female empowerment through sport. Speakers at next week’s conference represent a selection of such organisations aiming to break down barriers.  

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 16:06