The SWinG project partners, including European Hockey Federation, gathered on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of February 2019 to officially kick off this 3-year project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. Together they are aiming at addressing one of sport’s pressing challenges: bringing more diversity to the boardroom. The focus will be through the project on developing, testing and providing a concept to help close the gender gap.

Why is it an issue?

Currently, under-representation of women is found at all levels and in all sports organisations, and figures from the latest Special Eurobarometer 472 on Sport and Physical Activities confirmed that women are less likely than men to volunteer (4% vs 8%). We believe that by closing the gender gap, the sport sector will reap many benefits as regards good governance and the modernisation of its approach to sustain and increase the number of active participants.

 “The SWinG project represents a tremendous opportunity to stimulate women to take the step, being full of confidence that they can do it. I’m impressed by the work already carried out and by the electric spirit of the meeting. I am looking forward to working with the partners in the next 3 years” said Marijke Fleuren, President of the European Hockey Federation

What to expect from the SWinG project?

The aim of the unique partnership gearing the project is to act as a CATALYST FOR CHANGE in gender mainstreaming while giving a tremendous boost to the access of women to change-making positions in sport governing bodies. The project will promote Executive Board as an option for women volunteers in sport while also focusing on motivation, training, and skills development for the participants. SWinG is an ambitious project, led by the French Federation for Company Sport, which has been designed to DEVELOP & PILOT a new TRANSFERABLE APPROACH. It offers an opportunity for the partnership and the sector as a whole to POSITION OURSELVES as a reference point.

What was discussed at the Kick-Off?

In bringing in all partners together, a solid foundation for this 3-year project was laid, and the delivery team are energised and inspired.

The focus during this two-day intense and crucial meeting was on creating a spirit of cooperation and providing room and unconventional games for partners to get to know each other and understand the superpowers everyone is bringing at the table. In addition, specific focus was made to develop a shared understanding of the project, its rules and vision.

On day 2, partners worked together to understand, agree and develop avenues for the production of the “State of Play Report of Women in Decision Making Role in Sport in Europe”. They also examined, confirmed and designed proposals for the production of the “State of Play report on developing leadership skills for women”. Last but not least, they planned for future actions and in particular explored and generated ideas to develop a meaningful and impactful experience for both mentors and mentees.

What are the next steps?

Besides developing the initial State of Play reports, the partnership will further build the SWinG concept and launch an open call for participants, both mentors and mentees, this Spring. A tremendous work will be done to pair the selected one and then specific training sessions are planned for the mentors and the mentees by October 2019. This was just the beginning!

At the European Hockey Federation, we are very proud to have a President who leads the hockey family as we continue to #PressforProgress.