(ATR) The next step in an IOC-inspired initiative to promote female leadership in world sport will take place in Rio de Janeiro around the opening of the Olympic Games.
Linda Hofstad Helleland (ATR)
Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Sport and Culture, tells Around the Rings she is inviting her fellow ministers from around the world to attend a meeting in Rio to “discuss our challenges as different governments” in advocating for more women in positions of power in sport.
“Why is it so difficult to be a female leader in sport? When we look at presidents in international sports, there are not a lot of women there. I think sport is one of the most inclusive, tolerant arenas in the world and can work as an example in other fields of society.”
The Rio meeting follows a two-day conference in late May on “Women In Sport”, hosted by Helleland in Bergen, Norway.
Participants of conference in Norway on May 24-25 (Ministry of Culture)
Helleland says the initial conference was a success, with domestic and international leaders discussing their experiences and strategies in growing the number of women in leadership positions.
The IOC invited the Norwegian government to contribute to the efforts, coined the “Lillehammer Call” after the legacy of the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games which were held in February.
The IOC has made inroads into gender equality on the field of play in recent years. But when it comes to leadership positions in sport, the numbers for women still lag far behind the men.
Helleland applauds the efforts of the IOC through Olympic Agenda 2020 to change the status quo and was keen to join in the fight.
“In many areas of the world, sport is considered to be male territory,” she said to ATR. “Sport is open to all and belongs to everyone. And we as governments need to be better in communicating that message.”
Helleland says the biggest hurdle in getting more women in leadership roles is what she calls the “glass roof.”
“I think that we need to acknowledge that diversity is a challenge for sport organizations. One of the problems is that leaders are too similar and that we have too few role models.”
If Helleland and the IOC have their way, that could soon be changing.
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Written by Gerard Farek
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