Empowering Women and Girls Through the Transformative Power of Sport
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UN Women have extended their partnership through the renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The renewal reaffirms their commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through sports. The MoU was signed by IOC President Thomas Bach and UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous in New York, USA.
The IOC and UN Women have been partners since 2012, and this renewed partnership emphasizes their shared vision of using sports as a catalyst for positive social change. Their goal is to shape social norms and achieve sustainable development outcomes that positively impact women and girls worldwide.
During the signing ceremony, IOC President Bach highlighted the transformative power of sports in changing lives and stressed the importance of working towards gender equality. He stated, “With this new MoU, we will enhance our ongoing initiatives to encourage sports participation among girls and advance towards gender equality.”
UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous echoed this sentiment, acknowledging the unique role of sports in ending discrimination and violence against women and girls. She expressed her honor in renewing the partnership with the IOC, stating, “There can be no higher goal, and no greater win for us all.”
Under the renewed MoU, the IOC and UN Women will focus on three main objectives:
- Promoting gender-responsive policies, governance, and investment.
- Promoting safe and equal opportunities for women and girls to engage in sports, physical activity, and physical education, while also preventing gender-based violence.
- Strengthening advocacy, communication, collaborative insight-generation, and knowledge-sharing.
The MoU is accompanied by a two-year General Plan of Activities that outlines specific actions and desired outcomes. These activities align with the IOC’s Gender Equality and Inclusion Objectives for 2021-2024 and the Olympism365 strategy, which leverages sports to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The partnership will also continue to build upon the One Win Leads to Another (OWLA) program, which was launched during the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The program uses sports as a tool to prevent violence against girls and women and has successfully expanded into Argentina as a legacy of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. It is now extending its reach through the joint Gender Equality Through Sport Bridging Project across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia Pacific.