The Hellenic Olympic Committee hosts the Mid-Term Conference for the GAMES project

With the participation of 8 Olympic Committees (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, North Macedonia and Türkiye) as well as distinguished experts in the field of gender equality, including EOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission Chair, and Vice President of the British Olympic Association, Annamarie Phelps, the Mid-term Conference for the GAMES project was organized by HOC Gender Equality Committee chaired by Vassiliki Millousi.

The GAMES project is funded by the European Union and has the main objective of promoting integrity and good governance in sport by supporting structural and cultural changes related to gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions within National Olympic Committees and Sports Federations Members.

The conference with the theme “National Olympic Committees promote equal leadership in sport”, was opened by the President of the HOC and President of the European Olympic Committees Spyros Capralos, who emphasized: « Achieving gender equality in leadership positions is not only a matter of fairness and social justice.  It also has significant benefits for organizations and society as a whole. Research has shown that gender-diverse leadership teams tend to make better decisions, have higher financial performance, and are more innovative and adaptable. Gender equality is not only one of the founding democratic values of the EU but also a Fundamental Principle of Olympism. By working together to promote greater diversity and inclusiveness in our leadership positions, we can create a stronger and more successful Olympic movement for the future».

The President of the HOC Gender Equality Commission, Vasiliki Millousi, gave a different perspective to the topic by speaking about her personal experience: «As many of you may know, I am a 3-time Olympian in artistic gymnastics and 10-time world cup series medalist on beam. I have dedicated my life to this beautiful sport. Today, I stand before you not only as a former elite athlete but also as a mother of two, and someone who has recently decided to come out of sports retirement to compete once again in elite level. My deepest belief is that despite the challenges motherhood brings, it should not be seen as an obstacle to achieving one’s dreams and aspirations, but rather as a source of strength and determination. Elite female athletes but also all women working in sports, including mothers, should be supported to reach decision-making and management positions in the sport sector.».

For many NOCs and federations in Europe, promoting gender equality in leadership positions remains a real and difficult issue. Collaboration and knowledge sharing between stakeholders is absolutely necessary and the GAMES project is undeniably an important step towards achieving equitable leadership in sport. The Mid-Term Conference hosted by the HOC laid the foundation for long-term changes in the right direction, by bringing together key stakeholders and promoting joint efforts that will lead to promising results, while setting higher goals to achieve absolute gender balance in sports leadership and management.

The conference was closed by the Secretary General of the HOC, Manolis Kolymbadis, who stressed: «I hope that today’s conference has been to you as valuable, engaging and inspiring as it was to me. We do recognize that every country and sport is different. We also recognize that there is considerable variation in the allocation of responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion among the partner NOCs, as well as common challenges and barriers to developing gender mainstreaming in the NOCs’ activities. GAMES is evidence of growing attention to gender equality as it paves the way towards structural and cultural changes».

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