Let it all begins – The SWinG partners ready to #BalanceForBetter in sport!
The genesis of SWinG
A year ago, I embarked on a crazy adventure … Initially, it was only a support exercise providing some advice … And then in a thread that has turned into the co-writing of a European project with my friend Carole Bretteville… So much to say about this experience… Hours spent exchanging late into the night, weekends dedicated to the emergence of an idea … Obviously, all this was done outside of our working hours. Volunteer work, therefore, from the shadows and long-term basis. A work based on our respective experiences, our wish to contribute to the advancement of the sports sector and our desire to surround ourselves with the best.
A commitment that has borne fruit. Indeed last September the SWinG – Supporting Women in Achieving their Goals- project was selected to be funded under the Sport Chapter of the Erasmus+ programme.
Since then, we have had to work even harder to bring the SWinG project into a new dimension, that of reality. The project -as per the application- gave the background melody, now it is the choreography that must be made live.
Since the announcement of the selection, I strive to gather and produce all the elements needed to launch the project … It’s now done since Monday, February 18. The date on which we gathered the SWinG project partners for the official launching seminar of this three-year project.
Together, we aim to address one of the major challenges of sport: to bring more diversity to the elective bodies. The project will focus 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. Figures from the latest Special Eurobarometer 472 on Sport and Physical Activities confirmed women are less likely than men to volunteer (4% vs 8%).They also pictured the well-known “old white men” boardroom.
Fact is based on the current pace, there is a higher chance than global warming will destroy our planet before the gender gap being closed globally.
Yet we believe that by closing the gender gap, the sport sector will reap many benefits. This seems especially true as regards good governance and the modernization of its approach to sustain and increase the number of active participants.
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. We will in the same time focus 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, my will had been two-fold.
- Lay solid foundations for this 3 years’ project and
- Energize and inspire the delivery team.
Therefore, the focus during this two-days intense and crucial meeting, been on creating a spirit of cooperation. We provided room and unconventional games for partners to get to know each other. This was also the occasion to understand the super-powers 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 examine, confirm and design few 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. In particular, we 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. This Spring, we will launch an open call for participants, for both mentors and mentees. Tremendous work will be done to pair the selected one. Then specific training sessions are planned for the mentors and the mentees by October 2019. And these are just the first steps of dance!
“Through these two days’ event and the various exchanges we had it is obvious that there are many similarities between the business and sport worlds regarding diversity in leadership positions. The project is a unique opportunity to develop female talent in sports organizations, leveraging learning from business side” said Cécile Bernheim, President of PWN Paris
“The SWinG project represents a tremendous opportunity to stimulate women to take the step. It will help them 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
“We are very happy and let’s say proud after these two days’ kick off. There is a great team with different people, different frameworks, different stories. We worked easily together thanks to our Carole². All the ingredients are there to achieve what we want! Which is to increase the number of women leading local, national and international sports organisations. Because diversity is efficiency!” said Frédéric Delannoy, DTN of the French Federation for Company Sport.
I myself will remember two things from this kickoff meeting.
On the one hand, the pride of having opened the ball, of leading this meeting as a leader while remaining true to myself. If the music is beautiful it is probably that the conductor has faded to give way to the musicians.
Beyond that, what is important is above all a feeling of gratitude. It is a privilege and an honor to have been able to create such a strong and unique partnership! When you partner with organisations and individuals as diverse as prestigious, you feel an energy overflowing. I believe that we have the skills, experience and will to identify and encourage emerging women leaders to become real CHANGE and DECISION MAKERS in the field of sport and physical activity. However, we know that everyone has a role to play and we will not succeed alone. This is why we will launch joint actions in the project. We will look for synergies with other initiatives. We are already inviting potential partners to join the dance and join this project.
* The SWinG partnership is made of 10 partner organisations representing 7 countries. For the first time in the history of the Erasmus+ programme, an American partner is part of a consortium.
Coordinator of the SWinG project: French Federation for Company Sport.
SWinG Project partners: Athetes for Hope (US), European Federation for Company Sport – EFCS (FR), European Hockey Federation – EHF (BE), ENGSO Youth (HU), the network of Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales – FCEM (FR), the Professional Women’s Network – PWN Paris (FR), Société Sportiva Lazio (IT), Partizan Skofja Loka (SL) and University of Copenhagen (DK).