Unleashing the Power of Sport at the UN11 March 2013
New York (Women Win) - On International Women's Day, Women Win reflects on the burgeoning momentum that backs sport as a mighty strategy in empowering girls and women as displayed at the UN's annual CSW
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to pursuing gender equality and the advancement of women. Each year, representatives of member states gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies that promote gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide.
This has been an exciting, landmark year for aligning girls’ and women’s rights with sport. There were four key events dedicated exclusively to the subject, of which Women Win and partners took the stage three times. Each session focused on a unique and critical aspect: (1) sport as a strategy to prevent violence against girls and young women in schools; (2) aligning girls’ and women’s rights through sport; (3) issues of sexual harassment and abuse in sport; and (4) a networking of global thought leaders to advance discussions about sport as a powerful tool for girls’ and women’s rights.
The results are nothing short of great affirmation.
The international response reached unprecedented levels. The UN ambassador from Pakistan affirmed the nation’s commitment to addressing violence against girls in school, highlighting the important role sport can play. Through the NAZ Foundation, India testified to the impact of sport in a girl’s world: ‘Give the girl a ball and she will get a new life.’ Delegates from around the world, including Nigeria, Bulgaria and Haiti, expressed intent to adopt sport programmes for girls into national initiatives.
Moreover, Britain announced its pledge to boost support for girls and women in the poorest nations, unveiling a series of programmes that will give them more choice, voice and control of their lives. This includes the 2013 launch of the Leadership for Change Programme – a pioneering approach that Women Win, Vital Voices and other partners will employ using sport and mentoring to support leadership skills and opportunities of more than 50,000 girls and women worldwide.
It is evident that sport as a strategy towards empowering girls and women continues to gain traction at lightening speed. The surging interest from leading global organisations at CSW sets a solid foundation from which to build a movement.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us resolve to maintain the momentum in honour of the girls that will become tomorrow’s leading women.