ITU learns from 2012 IOC World Conference on Women and Sport

ITU learns from 2012 IOC World Conference on Women and Sport

By Merryn Sherwood on 29/02/12 at 11:57 pm

Chair of ITU’s Women’s Committee Tomoko Wada has reinforced the value of the IOC World Conference on Women and Sport, saying it would inspire her and ITU to continue to use sport as a tool to improve the lives of women worldwide.

The 5th Edition of the IOC World Conference on Women and Sport was held over three days in Los Angeles, from 16-18 February, and ITU was represented by President Marisol Casado, Secretary General Loreen Barnett, Executive Board member Melissa Merson, ATU Executive Board member Gloria Obajim, and Ms. Wada.

ITU has always mandated gender equality and is the only International Federation with women at the top two leadership roles of President and Secretary General, but Wada said that the conference had reinforced her committment.

“It was an eye-opening opportunity for everyone to learn more about the state of women in sport and challenges they face,” Ms. Wada said. “At the same time, it was also tremendously encouraging to know tireless endeavors being made by the many committed people in diverse fields to address those challenges.

“I would like to express my deep appreciation to ITU and the Japan Triathlon Union (JTU) who enabled me to attend this enlightening event. I renew my commitment in promoting gender equality in sport, and as the conference put the emphasis, we need to go beyond sport, using sport as a tool to improve the lives of women around the world.”

The conference covered a broad range of subjects and important networking through multiple channels including the United Nations, IOC, NOCs, IFs, scientific institutions, and many more stakeholders in sport.

As IOC President Jacques Rogge stated in his closing remarks, there were “more than 800 participants from 135 countries who are knowledgeable and motivated.”  With the theme “Together Stronger – the Future of Sport”, the three-day conference kicked off by acknowledging outstanding contributors for the development of women’s participation in administration of sport, granting the 2012 IOC Women and Sport Awards to five women and one institution representing Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the World. Prior to this official opening ceremony, discussions by continental associations already took place to exchange views.

Four plenary sessions and eight dialogue sessions in total were held over the following two days,from 9:00 till 18:00 each day with multinational, interdisciplinary panelists. Representing IOC and ITU, President Casado delivered her speech at a dialogue session titled “Setting the pace for a sustainable responsibility”, focusing on the IF’s view and ITU’s solid commitment in the involvement of women in the management level. It is worth mentioning here that Professer Ian Henry of Loughborough University referenced ITU and its women involvement in his presentation in Dialog session, “It’s all in the numbers.”

The final day had even more colourful programmes with speeches from two local icons of women’s involvement, Geena Davis and Diana Nyad, in addition to the forum of young speakers from the Youth Olympic Games. The early bird participants also appreciated the hand-on learning workshop offered in the breakfast training session conducted by Nora Sheffe, a Master Trainer of CAAWS Women and Leadership Program. The ITU team also met two-time Olympic medallist and five-time figure skating world champion Michelle Kwan.

The conference was successfully wrapped up by Jacques Rogge presenting the “Los Angeles Declaration” that had two main themes: the need to bring more women into management and leadership roles, and the need to increase collaboration and partnerships, especially with UN organisations, to promote gender equality. This declaration was met with a unanimous approval and applause from participants.

For more on the conference, please click here.