Athletes for Hope

AFH joins forces with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SXSW & Women’s Sports Foundation to Promote Gender Equality

This month, AFH elevated the important conversation about gender equality across continents, on digital platforms, and closer to home at SXSW.

AFH has teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and HIVE to create an initiative in Kenya and Tanzania aimed at addressing the overarching theme of gender equality through the lens of economic empowerment. To do so, a powerful network of key Kenyan and Tanzanian voices from the arts, sports, business, and activism have come together to use their platform to help advance this important issue. The list of highly curated influencers includes those at the pinnacle of their professions such as Sharon Mundia, Adelle Onyango, Caroline Mutoko, King Kaka, Tegla Loroupe, and Paul Tergat. This past week we officially launched this initiative and we will have more information about concrete actions that the group will take to further gender equality over the next few months, so stay tuned!

On International Women’s Day, AFH and the Women’s Sports Foundation convened 40 athletes from 10 sports for a twitter chat about gender equality. Incredible athletes such as US Track & Field Olympian Michelle Carter amplified the conversation by lending their perspectives on issues such as women in leadership roles within sports, the #MeToo movement and the various ways in which athletes can use their platform to help move the needle on gender equality. The chat generated over 2.7 million impressions! In case you missed it, a recap of the conversation can be found here.

A few days after the Twitter Chat, AFH hosted a Panel at the South by Southwest Festival. The riveting conversation was facilitated by ESPN Reporter & Commentator Kate Fagan and featured 2018 U.S. Olympic Hockey Gold Medalist Hilary Knight, US Soccer Legend Abby Wambach, and WNBA Player Layshia Clarendon. The world-renowned athletes discussed their life experiences and how they are using their platform to bring greater attention to equality issues. One of the main themes from this conversation was the importance of uplifting women in the sports arena by increasing viewership of female sports and encouraging others in their daily lives to speak up when others degrade female sports. Further, they discussed how many women in leadership roles were athletes and emphasized the importance of investing in female athletes. For the full audio click here!

Here are a few featured comments from our SXSW panelists and CEO:

“We are witnessing a cultural shift, women are banding together to fundamentally change the way society treats us. With and because of these brave women, I won’t be silenced, ever again” – Layshia Clarendon

“Make your voice be heard regardless of the circumstance. Be courageous and fight for what you believe in.” – Abby Wambach

“AFH is very proud to host such an important conversation with four amazingly passionate panelists around the topic of equality in sports. We are committed to helping level the playing field and the SXSW panel was an important part of that initiative.” Athletes for Hope CEO, Ivan Blumberg

These moments will serve as a launching point for Athletes for Hope to work more closely with its athletes and partners to further gender equality through additional discussions, but more importantly, to work together in taking concrete actions to close the gender gap.