Conference Review
- Day One


Women still face significant challenges and obstacles in sport, according to a groundbreaking panel on Day One of the Main Conference Programme at SportAccord Convention.

For the first time ever in the 12-year history of the Convention, a panel made up exclusively of women gave their insights into the issue of equality in sport – both in terms of playing sport and working in sport.

The panellists started the session by discussing how they became involved in sport, before going on to talk about the future.

“I raise my son to think that girls involved in sport is pretty cool, as they’re capable of being just as competitive as guys,” Lisa Lazarus, Chief of Business Development & Strategy at the FEI, said. “We have to raise a generation to think of women in sport as natural.”

Awareness was the recurring theme during the session, with Donna de Varona, President of DAMAR Inc and a leading figure over the years in the battle for equality in sport, saying:

“Studies have shown that if you have more than three women in an organisation, you’re more diverse and creative, and the resulting impact is greater,”

Marzena Bogdanowicz, Founder and Managing Director of b-focused ltd and a former Director of Marketing at the British Olympic Association, added that women need to be more outspoken about their own successes in sport.

She said:

“There is a lot of pressure on women to deliver and we don’t have the confidence to claim the success. That for me is motivation for women to show that if you are good, you have to tell people about it. Believe in yourself.”

Nese Gündogan, Secretary General of the Turkish National Olympic Committee, believes her country is making real progress. “In Turkey 50 per cent of our youth participants in sports are female,” she said. “We see the importance of overcoming the cultural barrier and including an equal amount of participation from both genders.”