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How the power of play empowers girls and women
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A sportanddev community member reports on the Women Deliver 2019 Global Conference.

Recently, I was invited to speak at the biggest global conference on gender equality: Women Deliver 2019 held in Vancouver, Canada from 3-6 June 2019. My session topic was "Empowerment of women and girls through the power of sports and play", and was based on personal experience.  I got the opportunity to express my opinion in the Silent Disco Session of Youth Zone. More than 8,500 people from around the world and including the Canadian Prime Minister appeared at the conference to promote the voice of gender equality.

The points of my discussion at the conference were:

  • Women in sport defy gender stereotypes and social norms, make inspiring role models, and promote gender equality. These role models like Yuna Kim (Olympic medalist in figure skating) inspire thousands of girls around the world to also break stereotypes to take a step forward for their rights
  • Sports teach life skills such as teamwork, resilience, self-esteem, and confidence to women and girls in sport. These skills help them to perform well in the sports field and also in daily life
  • Women in sport earn career and economic opportunities, and self-reliance. They contribute to the local, national and global economy. At the same time, when they can earn it can improve the living standard of their families
  • It is a way to represent your flag globally and make your country proud by securing wins. It gives a sense of equality when regardless of gender you represent your country at the Olympics and bring gold home  
  • Sports can provide a safe and fair environment for women and girls, where without fear of cultural barriers and constraints they can play and learn
  • Sports integrate women and the power of sports converts into women's power. As the power of sports overcome differences and give power to players
  • It helps violence victims with trauma relief and better health. Girls have been facing violence around the world as child brides or as wives, sports bring back smiles on their faces and helps in trauma relief
  • The power of play boosts to women's rights campaigns. Sports events attract to mega audiences and these are the best places to highlight social issues and advocate to millions of people
  • When people say you can’t do it, sport is a way to do it. It has been proved when girls or women in wheelchairs ran in Paralympic events. It has not only changed their lives but also broke the cultural norms and stigmas    

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