Marijke Fleuren is appointed to the EU High-Level Group (HLG) on gender equality in sport

Posted On 08/12/2020

The EHF is delighted to announce that our President, Marijke Fleuren has been appointed to the newly formed EU High-Level Group (HLG) on gender equality in sport.

Marijke has been at the forefront of the EHF’s Gender balance campaign, leading from the front in establishing a Women in Leadership Forum, she is also a mentor on the EU funded SWing project. In addition, Marijke led our Member Associations in signing up to a Gender Balance Charter at our 2019 General Assembly, a living document to ensure that all members of the EHF ensure that gender equality is at the centre of their strategic thinking. As a 50/50 sport on the field, hockey is leading the way globally in sport to ensure that leadership roles are reflective of our 50/50 sport.

Under Marijke’s leadership, the EHF has instigated and been successful in bringing gender balance to our Executive Board and is working hard on ensuring that all our Committees follow suit. Marijke is Chair of the Women in Sport Committee of the FIH and a member IOC Commission ‘Women in Sport”.

The EHF Director-General, Angus Kirkland said “Marijke has shown strong leadership in ensuring that in hockey we are striving forward with gender balance, not only on the field of play but in the decision making rooms. Marijke’s mantra has always been ‘stay at the table’ no matter how hard that can sometimes be and to remain true to her principles. We are very proud that she has been invited by the EU to join this High-Level Group. We believe that her contribution to this group will be immense and all of us in hockey wish her well in her work.”


The new EU Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2025 promotes a European Union where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity

  • are free to pursue their chosen path in life
  • have equal opportunities to thrive
  • can equally participate in and lead our European society

Sport should be no exception. We witness more and more women participating in sport activities in Europe, but still a lot needs to be done regarding

  • women’s participation in sport
  • female coaches
  • women’s representation in decision-making processes
  • media coverage
  • gender-based violence

The European Commission (EC) adopted in 2013 the Gender Equality – Proposal for strategic actions 2014-2020, a reference document in this field. Since its timeframe is coming to an end, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the way forward and to boost gender equality in sport.

In this context, the EC decided to establish a High Level Group (HLG) composed of experienced and distinguished individuals in the field of gender equality in sport.

Among the 81 candidates who applied to the call for selection of experts, 15 highly qualified individuals were selected.

The EC will officially launch the High Level Group at the beginning of 2021, with a first meeting in February. Members of the HLG will meet approximately every two months to make proposals to the EC, Member States and the Sport Movement in the field of gender equality in sport. The work of these experts will lead to the implementation of concrete actions at national and European level.

Congratulations to the selected experts!

SurnameFirst NameCountry
FLEUREN-VAN-WELSEMMarijkeThe Netherlands
PRETSChristina Austria
WENTA BogdanPoland
BOZKURTEmineThe Netherlands
TOWNSENDSarahUnited Kingdom


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