European summit on Gender Equality and Diversity in sport held in Brussels

European summit on Gender Equality and Diversity in sport held in Brussels

The European Summit on Gender Equality and Diversity in Sport was held in Brussels, on 18 April 2024, organised by the ENGSO member Opes International within the framework of the project Sport and Equality which is co-funded by the European Union.

The objective of the meeting was to join forces towards improving Equality and Diversity in sport, design a shared plan and coordinate the joint efforts during 2024.

The meeting gathered all major European sport stakeholders committed to improving equality in sport: the Sport Unit of the European Commission, Council of Europe EPAS, European Olympic Committees - EOC and European Olympic Committees EU Office - EOC EU Office, Global Observatory for Gender Equality & Sport, EUSA - European University Sports Association, EGLSF,  Leap Sports Scotland and International Working Group of Women in Sport (IWG).

Several organisations involved in the work on gender equality in sport in Europe took part in the meeting, under the coordination of ENGSO represented by Ms Sara Massini, ENGSO Secretary General, Ms Sallie Barker, EWS Chair, Ms Tarja Krum, EWS Vice-Chair, ENGSO Office Director Ms Marie Deninton and OPES International – represented by Ms Linda Rombola, Project manager of Department of International Relations: 

  • Ms Francine Hetherington Raveney,  EPAS Deputy Executive Secretary of Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) of the Council of Europe
  • Ms Olivia Conrad, Senior Project Officer, All in Plus Project, Coincil of Europe
  • Ms Violeta Birzniece, representative of the Sport Unit of the European Commission, DG EAC
  • Ms Lombe Mwambwa, Research Director representing Global Obervatory for Gender Equality & Sport (online)
  • Ms Sarah Townsend, European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), Co-President
  • Ms Annamarie Phelps, Chair of the EOC Commission on Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion of European Olympic Committee 
  • Ms Lisa O’Keefe, Secretary General, International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport
  • Ms Abby Burton, Strategic Communications Manager of IWG
  • Ms Hristina Hristova, Commuications Officer, European University Sports Association (EUSA)
  • Ms Heidi Vistinsen, Policy Manager, LEAP Sports Scotland
  • Ms Carlotta Giussani, EU Funding Officer, European Olympic Committees EU Office

The one-day summit, started with round of introduction of the planned agenda, as well as of the new people at the table. It was then followed by the round of updates regarding the projects, work done so far, the results of each organisation and more importantly the future plans.

All of the present representatives shared a scoop of their most important actions taken as well as future plans and actions to be implemented in the future. Important sports and educational events such as the Euro Games 2024, ENGSO EWS Committee Conference on Gender Equality, the European Universities Games 2024, the joint EU-CoE All in Plus project final conference, important webinar series and online seminars, and the recently concluded EU Sport Forum, were a few of many spotlighted events.

Important developed and planned strategies, action plans, policies, and projects on strengthening Gender Equality and Safeguarding in sports were also highlighted in the presentations of each organisation. All these actions taken, are a prove of the great work done towards a more inclusive and equal sport environment.

The impact of EPAS European Sports Charter, with its promotion of inclusive sport through focus on gender equality, the All in Plus project,  the soon to be adopted work plan 2024-2027 of the European Commission, giving priority on Gender Equality and increased participation of women in sports, as well as upcoming #BeActive campaign, were also highlighted in the discussions, holding an important spot in the work towards improving Equality and Diversity in sport.


Present representatives then continued with filling the shared calendar, with the aim to broaden and ease the possibilities of cooperation for events in 2024 and until June 2025. Afterwards, knowledgeable and fruitful discussions were held into the working groups covering three topics: gaps to be filled (proposed actions), data collection and communication.

The summit was concluded with highlighting the next steps, joined future actions towards Gender Equality and Diversity in sports, and the importance of the valuable work of all the organisations present.

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