Sport and Citizenship is the first European “think tank” in the field of sport. It offers a forum for new thinking and lobbying which aims at putting forward the core values of sport in society, in the realm of politics, economics and media issue.
In Europe, girls practice sport much less than boys: only 37% of women practice sport regularly in Europe and more importantly, 45% give up sport during their teenage years. Only 10% of coaching and leadership positions related to sport in the EU are held by women. In professional sport, the gender gap is also striking: the share of women sporting events only represents 9% of all sporting events broadcasted on TV! When looking at sportsmen and women salaries, the gap is enormous, especially in collective sports: the difference can be thousands euro, and even several hundreds of thousands in football…
HeForShe in sport can make a change: sport is the favorite activity of young boys and girls in Europe. It has a great power of identification. Sport can thus be an important driver of change in our society. As the first activity in Europe in number of volunteers, sport is an unlimited source to change behaviors as it reaches 35 million people…
For years now, we have been working on gender equality in sports and we have been leading several actions to encourage women and girls to engage in sports. Every three months, we publish a journal, gathering contributions of experts and one of the very first we published, in 2008, was dedicated to women and sport. In November 2013, we released a publication entitled “Women, Sport and Media coverage in Europe – The “Television without frontiers” directive: for a better media coverage of women’s sport” in which we examined media coverage of women sport and made proposals to improve it. A conference to present this work was organised a month later. We have also created networks, within our think tank, that focus on what we identified as major issues related to sport in our society. The network “Women and Sport” gathers more than 60 experts all over Europe and is the most active network of Sport and Citizenship. Its members regularly publish articles, participate to roundtables and conferences… Thanks to its work, Sport and Citizenship has been invited to participate in the development of the ‘Strategic Proposals for the equality of the sexes in sport 2014-2020’ of the European Union.
I am convinced that sport, thanks to its integration capacity, can be a very useful tool to promote and to advance gender equality. Its potential to educate should not be underestimated and media attention should be a way to fight against sexist stereotypes, both in sports and in society as a whole. I personally participated in several conferences as a speaker to present the work of our think tank. The fight against gender inequality is still very topical and sport, as a social activity, has a key role to play.