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ENGSO Young Delegates raise their voice for gender equality at the IOC Advancing Women in Leadership


On the 10-11th October two ENGSO Youth Young Delegates, Anett Fodor and Laura-Maria Tiidla, attended at the IOC Advancing Women in Leadership Forum in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

The forum was the first of its’ kind in Europe, similar sessions were held in Asia and Africa in August. Following the good practices of other continents it was time to organize bring it to Europe and Lithuania took the initiative to set a good example on working towards achieving gender balance. As the Lithuanian Olympic Committee is led by a female president and as a matter of fact, so is their country.

The fact that only four out of 50 European NOC-s have a female president, shows how much work still needs to be done. A year ago IOC Executive Committee set the goal within the Olympic Agenda 2020 to achieve at least 30% women in management roles in sport. As the, progress so far has been slow it’s urgent to discuss how to reach this ambitious objective.

ENGSO was represented in two different panels as ENGSO Chair of Equality Within Sport Committee Kristina Thuree shared her thoughts in the panel “Good Governance: Everybody should get involved” and Agne Vanagiene, ENGSO Vice president, moderated a discussion on the topic “Education: A tool to foster Leadership” where our Young Delegate, also Youth Olympic Games Young Ambassador, Laura-Maria Tiidla took part as a panellist speaker.


The Young Delegates key ideas and reflections from the Forum can be found below:

  • The importance of role models is crucial to recognize, especially to empower the younger generation;

  • To reach gender equality, both genders’ support and cooperation is needed;

  • It’s important to support the women to overcome the confidence gap;

  • but most important is to create opportunities for young women to get involved and create a cultural shift.

As it was emphasized by IOC president Thomas Bach: “We can’t afford to ignore 50% of the knowledge, intelligence and power of our population.” It sums up the problem very well as it applies to gender and youth issues as young people under 30 make up 50% of the world’s population. Sameness will not move us forward. Diversity will only make us stronger and innovative, so let’s embrace it.

The Forum concluded with all the Forum’s participants agreeing to uphold the gender balance goals set in the Olympic Agenda 2020. They received the Vilnius Commitment to Change as the event’s outcome summing up the key recommendations. The Commitment brings out twelve important points on how to reach gender balance in sport, one of them highlights the importance of involving youth in the process as “Involving young people, especially athletes, in governance of sport organisation is essential.” Full declaration can be found at olympic.org website and all the panel discussions can be found here.


Gender equality is one of the ENGSO Youth priorities, Rachel May (may@youth-sport.net) our Committee member is in charge of helping the Young Delegates to make their voice to be heard. If you have any comments or you need more information with Gender Equality topics, she is the person you can turn to, as well as Laura and Anett are eager to contribute to the cause.

The Forum was also an ideal opportunity for the IOC to launch the Advancing Women in Leadership Platform, an online collaborative learning community, which aims to connect and inspire women in sport, and provide useful resources for leaders who support gender equality. Laura and Anett are already members, so come and join the discussion here.

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