Athletes for Hope

Advancing Women into Leadership Positions in Sport

In June of 2019, Athletes for Hope Global Director of Gender Equality, Dr. Ashleigh Huffman, will travel to Brussels to collaborate on a timely new research and mentorship project co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union to advance women into decision-making positions in sport.

Launched by BeInnovactiv Founder, Carole Ponchon of France, and Carole Bretteville, the SWinG project is designed to provide baseline data on the current state of women in leadership positions within sport and to propose creative new solutions to close the gender gap. The intended result: more diversity in decision-making roles.

“Women make up 51% of the population and less than 5% of the executive seats in Fortune 500 companies. As a female athlete, I am interested in the same gendered data within sport governance. If we want to make sport more inclusive and accessible, while also increasing talent and product, we need diverse thinking at the decision-making table. Sport is too important for the next generation to leave half the world’s brainpower out of the conversation.”

The SWinG project is an ambitious undertaking, led by the French Federation for Company Sport, to create data points on leadership, election, board membership, and promotion procedures within the often-veiled world of sport governance.

The research will inform new solutions, one of which includes a newly developed mentorship program designed to launch in the fall of 2019. Women who participate in the mentorship program will be given an inside look at Executive Board membership and primed with skills, knowledge, and motivation to assume an executive seat within sport organizations.

“Through our unique partners in the United States and Europe, I am confident that we have the right set of skills, experiences and willingness in the room to identify and nurture female emerging leaders and empower them to become real actors of change in the sport and physical activities sector. We know everyone has a role to play and we will not achieve anything alone. That’s the reason this project calls for joint and collaborative action.” said Carole Ponchon, SWinG project leader.

The second gathering of the SWinG cohort will take place June 24 in Belgium. Program partners include: Athletes for Hope (US), the European Federation for Company Sport (FR), the European Hockey Federation (BE), ENGSO Youth (HU), Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (FR), the Professional Women’s Network (FR), the Società Sportiva Lazio (IT), the Sport Club Partizan Skofja Loka (SL) and the University of Copenhagen (DK). This collaboration with Athletes for Hope marks the first time in Erasmus+ program history that a US organization is an official partner of a sports project.

Visit the project website to know more: www.gamechangeher.org