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20 March 2019 | in Education

Present and future female leaders at Gender Equality round table

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, which happens to be a popular public holiday in Russia, FISU’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC) gathered in Krasnoyarsk to discuss the present and future of women’s involvement in the InternationalUniversity Sports movement.


Taking place on the sidelines of the Winter Universiade 2019, the round table attended by FISU President Oleg Matytsin and first Vice-President Leonz Eder was open to the public and attracted a large audience. While flowers, smiles and warm wishes lined the streets of Krasnoyarsk, the GEC focused on hard realities and possible solutions for offering greater access to sports, for women.


The session, moderated by GEC chair Rosaura Mendez of Costa Rica and vice chair Peninnah Kabenge of Uganda, examined these issues among both, athletes and leaders from national, continental and institutional perspectives.


For the past 12 years, FISU has been makinga concentrated effort to champion gender equality within the University Sports movement. FISU engages in a number of programs and key activities such as partnering with the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport and participating in their world conference on women in sport. Key activities in this area include the FISU Gender Award, a round table, and the publication of promotional videos.


However, the University Sports movement acknowledges there is still work to do when it comes to tackling the issue of true gender equality. Atthe 29thedition of the Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, women made up 36%of the total number of athletes and officials, while only 13 delegations – out of 58 – were headed by a woman. Of the 174 FISU member associations, only 19 have a woman as president.


As part of a 10-year plan, the FISU global strategy adopted in 2017 focuses on increasing opportunities for female leaders at FISU itself and within NUSFs and CUSFs, making sure all ranks and files within the membership are also gender diverse. The promotion of women for higher institutional positions at FISU remains one of the organization’s main goals when it comes to gender equality.


The gender equality round table attracted Young Reporters and FISU Ambassadors – all present in Krasnoyarsk thanks to the FISU educational programmes. Rosaura Mendez expressed her joy, saying,“With the participation of FISU Ambassadors, this session became a true collective brain-storming session between present and future leaders of the International University Sports movement.”