UN Women and the International Olympic Committee renew partnership on sport for gender equality

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and IOC President Thomas Bach. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and IOC President Thomas Bach. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

After five years of successful collaboration on women and sport, UN Women and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have renewed their commitment through a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU lays out the vision for the next five years of partnership, which will empower women and girls through sport and increase women’s leadership and gender equality in the sport industry.

“Sport is an invaluable tool to equip women and girls with leadership skills, reduce marginalization and dismantle stereotypes, and I am excited to continue our strong relationship with the IOC,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Together we can bring substantive equality—a Planet 50-50—to the world of sport at all levels,” she added.

“Working together with UN Women, the IOC wants to empower women in sport and through sport,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “With this MoU, we will build on our efforts already underway to promote access to sport for girls and work towards gender equality. This is another step to extending this great partnership,” he added.

 UN Women and International Olympic Committee (IOC) renew their commitment to advance gender equality through a second Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
UN Women and International Olympic Committee (IOC) renew their commitment to advance gender equality through a second Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Specifically, the next phase of cooperation will contribute to women’s equal access and participation, resource allocation and leadership in sport; engage women and girls at the grassroots level through sustainable sport programmes, targeting in particular girls in vulnerable communities; and leverage the power of sport, including large-scale sporting events and athletes as role models, to change harmful gender-based stereotypes and norms.

UN Women and the IOC, together with Women Win, have been implementing “One Win Leads to Another”, an innovative joint programme to empower young women and girls through sport, as an Olympic Legacy project of the Rio 2016 Games. The programme builds the leadership skills of adolescent girls through quality sport training, creates safe spaces for girls and gives them tools and knowledge to break social barriers and access services if experiencing violence. It also equips the participants with basic economic skills. The programme has been piloted in disadvantaged areas of Rio de Janeiro, and will continue under this partnership framework in Brazil. Plans are underway to also take the programme to additional countries.