EHF President Marijke Fleuren was delighted to deliver the welcoming address at the Catalan Hockey Federation’s gender equality forum in Terrassa last Friday.
The forum was held to celebrate the centenary of the Federation with Joana Barbany as the spokeswoman for the event.
Xavier Adell was a key organiser behind the initiative which had the backing and input from the Mayor of Terrassa and the Secretary General of Sport of Catalunya, Anna Caula.
She was among a group of exceptional people who shared their experiences in different roles in hockey from a woman’s perspective including public administrators, club presidents, team managers, coaches, umpires and players of different generations.
Over 150 people were in attendance and with speakers including international star Gigi Oliva, umpire Sandra Adell and Real Club de Polo men’s head coach Katie Allen.
In Marijke’s address, she said she was honoured to take part in the event which she hoped will write some history in the discourse of the organisation.
She spoke of the distance the Catalonian Hockey Federation has come since forming 100 years ago in 1923 but also challenged the audience to ask “has it been enough?” from a women’s perspective.
“We are here to talk about Equally Amazing, to see where we stand. It is about the role and visibility of women in society. In sport, in culture, in science in the public domain.
“Compared with 1923 we have made progress. But has it been enough?”
She added that having male advocacy is also key to change: “It is also clear, we cannot achieve it on our own. We need support from the men. In the IOC, connected with the UN, there is the HeForShe initiative, where men advocate the interests of women, to get a better result for all.
“We all have a role to play. As simple as that”.
Following her address, the forum provided a lively opportunity to give a voice and visibility to women in hockey to talk about their role on and off the field, exposing the reality of women in the sport.
The audience listened to stories and anecdotes focused on female talent and leadership in hockey and sport, highlighting the evolution of the role of women over the last few decades.
It stressed the importance in the promotion of hockey to young women and new generations, particularly encouraging their participation by looking for role models to inspire them.
When it comes to the role of women in the leadership and decision-making roles in hockey, the forum spoke of the need to promote gender diversity in committees, management positions, coaching positions and so on.
** You can see more from the forum here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07E14ENoNek