Gender equality is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union and has been “recognised as a basic principle of democracy and respect for humankind” (Communication from the Commission “Incorporating equal opportunities for women and men into all community policies and activities, 1996) According to the European Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015, “promoting non-discriminatory gender roles in all areas of life such as education, career choices, employment and sport is [...] an essential contribution towards gender equality.”
However, according to the Proposal for Strategic Actions 2014 – 2020 in gender quality in sport (2014) only “in a small number of Member States gender equality in sport is recognized as a priority and as a result positive actions and sometimes tools to mainstream gender were implemented.”
Latest studies reveal that sport participation among European children and adolescents is far from being consistent. Even though, according to the Special Eurobarometer 412 “Sport and Physical Activity” (European Commission & TNS Opinion and social: 2013) a “majority of 15-24 year-olds (64%) exercise or play sport at least once a week”, physical activity tends to drop off between the ages of 11 to 15 in most European countries and the difference between genders is strongest in this age group: 74 % of boys and young men exercise on a regular basis, whereas the participation among girls and young women in the same age group only amounts to 55 %.
This report states that activities drop off “among girls around 11 or 12 years” who perceive barriers such as “school pressures, dissatisfaction with school physical education classes, […] and inaccessibility or inconvenience of sporting provision”. It also underlines the social aspect of sports (“a key factor in whether girls engage in and sustain physical activities was whether they had a same-sex friend with whom to participate”) and stresses the importance of high quality and enjoyable physical education as a means to reach all children: “Many girls reject an overly competitive teaching climate, […] and prefer individual, creative or co-operative activities”.
You can download our Bruchure
Brochure Egpis "Sport is a Girl Thing" by EGPiS Project
Only if such barriers will be overcome, girls will have equal opportunities and access to sports tailored to their needs. EGPiS project offers a horizontal solution by promoting a closer collaboration between schools and sports organisations. The project does not only aim at motivating young girls to assume extracurricular sporting activities, moreover, it will be able to include teachers as well as trainers and that way will be able to address girls’ needs on more than one level. To this end, the project team involves several profiles of organisations active in various fields thematically related to the gender equality issue in sports.
The consortium does not understands sports primarily as a competition, but as part of physical well-being and personal development which is why it is important to integrate disadvantaged groups.
The team includes two local public bodies, one from Turkey and one form Portugal. Çatalca District Directorate of National Education (Turkey) regards sporting activities as important part of education, as it fosters personal and physical development. They focus their work on supporting disadvantaged groups and are therefore particularly interested in contributing to gender equality in sports in their region.
Mirandela Municipality (Portugal) has a division especially dedicated to sports in their region. One of their main aims is to promote the “sport for all” movement in order to grant equal access to sports for everyone.
With Hranice Development Agency has been collaborating with both schools and sport associations in their region and is aware of the low participation of girls in sporting activities. Their goal is to structurally develop the local sport related infrastructure and to support sport initiatives promoting grassroots sport.
Furthermore, the partnership includes a Swedish Sports Federations: Värmlands Sport Federation has already been working in the field of gender equality and in addition, there is a national goal to reach a 50/50 distribution of women and men active in sports.
The Access to Sports Project is targeted at people who face multiple levels of disadvantage. Within this scope, one of their objectives is to increase social inclusion by providing opportunities for participation in sports by males and females, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities and people who are economically disadvantaged.
The Cyprus University of Technology aims at contributing to the progress and wellbeing of the society. As part of its academic activity, it promotes public health, social inclusion and equality.
ENDAS is one of the most important organisations in Italy active in the field of social action being able to spread a sports culture considered as a playful and peaceful aggregation of individuals. Therefore it intends to integrate all disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities, but also girls and women.