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Providing Opportunities for Leadership and Achievement


Sport offers girls and women important opportunities to acquire skills and develop their leadership capacities. Currently, there are many barriers preventing women from assuming leadership positions. This is reflected by the persistent worldwide under-representation of women in positions of power and decision-making. Domestic workload – including childbirth and caring for children and elderly parents – can limit the flexibility and time available to women to exercise leadership roles outside the home. Low education levels relative to men and socialization that discourages girls and women from perceiving themselves as potential leasers are also significant barriers. The SDP IWG Report, “Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments”, made the following policy and programmatic recommendations which Member States, with SDP IWG support, are encouraged to implement:


  • Optimize the use of sport to advance gender equity by applying a gender lens to all sport policies and programmes to ensure that they are not being distorted by gender stereotypes, inequities or discrimination.
  • Ensure that government sport funding policies aim to create an equitable balance of men and women in leadership roles in sport organizations.
  • Research the sport programming needs and interests of girls and women. Ensure the necessary research, monitoring, and evaluation frameworks are in place to attain gender equity policy goals in sport.
  • Avoide generalized (one-size-fits-all) approaches to policies and programmes concerning women and sport.


  • Establish programmes to recognize the achievement of girls and women in sport. Offer opportunities to practice leadership and include actions to improve girl's and women's knowledge about their rights, their bodies and their health into programmes.
  • Include monitoring and evaluation frameworks in programmes from the outset and develop and disseminate appropriate best practices and tools that are specific to women and sport programmes.
  • Promote opportunities for women as leaders in sport and provide girls and women with female role models; including advocacy for existing women leaders and mentors.


To view a briefing note containing background information on Providing Opportunities for Leadership and Achievement, click here.

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