The Transnational Project Meeting of the GAMES project (Guidance to Achieve More Equal Leadership in Sport) was hosted by the Turkish Olympic Committee in Istanbul on 16-17 January 2023.
The meeting gathered representatives from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, North Macedonia and Turkey), experts on gender equality and sports governance such as Professor Kari Fasting (Equal Rights in Sports) and Rowland Jack (I Trust Sport), as well as the IOC. By pairing scientific knowledge with practical experience, the GAMES project aims to support NOCs in creating concrete strategies to promote gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions.
Folker Hellmund (Director, EOC EU Office) and Nese Gundogan (Secretary General, Turkish Olympic Committee) opened the meeting by thanking all participants for their attendance. These highlighted the scope of the meeting being to discuss the content of the Pool of Actions, as well as the NOCs National Action Plans. After which, a brief overview of the status of the project was provided; accordingly, the consortium was thanked for the timely and valuable contributions in ensuring that the activities and deliverables were duly and timely carried out and submitted, so far.
The EOC EU Office presented an update on the status of the Pool of Actions; accordingly, the consortium engaged in an inspiring discussion and peer-to-peer exchange about the actions and monitoring measures included in the Pool of Actions. Accordingly, the feasibility and applicability of the Pool of Actions was discussed across partners NOCs. A wide range of topics were tackled, among others communication, gender budgeting and mainstreaming. Hence, fruitful additions were made towards the advancement of the Pool of Actions, as well enhancing its comprehensiveness and accuracy.
On the second day, the EOC EU Office and I Trust Sport (Rowland Jack) presented the scope and strategic relevance for the NOCs Action Plans. Accordingly, a series of recommended models and templates for the National Actions Plans were showcased to partners NOCs in order to promote a shared understanding on the foreseen structure; and yet, taking into consideration national and organisational context to develop effective and sustainable strategies.
Besides, the consortium discussed the National Action Plans and their relevance to further promote the National Action Plans, as well as share knowledge and information regarding the current situation and foreseen future actions among member federations and relevant national/regional sports stakeholders/policymakers in each partner NOCs.
In addition, two guest speakers shared their experiences in promoting gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions. Notably, Dr. Canan Koca Aritan (Turkish Association of Sport and Physical Activity for Women) showcased the Guidelines for Gender-responsive sports organisations developed in the framework of the HeForShe programme and in cooperation with the United Nation Women’s office in Turkey. Besides, Elisabeth Cebrian-Scheurer (Head of Women in Basketball & Special Projects at FIBA Europe) has shared the initiatives that FIBA Europe has carried out to promote gender equality both at the governance and grassroots levels. Hence, the consortium benefitted from several transferable initiatives and actions described to boost gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions.
Accordingly, an open discussion has been held among the consortium regarding “common challenges” in designing and implementing a National Action Plan to promote gender equality in leadership positions. Notably, the consortium discussed key challenges to promote gender equality among which the notion of gender budgeting, recruitment policy/process, flexible working practices, boosting women’s impact on decision-making, as well as women’s representation in sport governance and required changes in statutes/structural reforms.
The meeting came to a conclusion with Folker Hellmund (Director, EOC EU Office), Nese Gundogan (Secretary General, Turkish Olympic Committee) and Sukran Albayrak (Executive Board Member, Turkish Olympic Committee) who reiterated the importance of cooperation between NOCs to advance the project. Hence, the Turkish Olympic Committee was warmly thanked for their hospitality and outstanding organisation whilst the entire consortium was thanked for their time and contribution to boosting gender equality in sports leadership.
The next Transnational Project Meeting is foreseen to occur in concomitance with the Mid-term Conference and to be hosted by the NOC of Greece in Athens between the 22nd and 24th of May 2023.