UN Women Turkey issues a roadmap for sports organizations on how to be gender-responsive

HeForShe Turkey published a step-by-step guide on how to develop strategies to become a gender-responsive sports organization and to empower women and girls in and through sports.

Date: Thursday, July 8, 2021

Girls' football teams in Gaziantep, Turkey played for solidarity against gender-based violence. Photo: UN Women
Girls' football teams in Gaziantep, Turkey played for solidarity against gender-based violence. Photo: UN Women

The Guidelines for Gender-responsive Sports Organizations (Guidelines) are based on UN Women’s global Sports for Generation Equality initiative, which suggests a six-step framework to make gender equality a lived reality in and through sports. The Guidelines, which are a first-of-their-kind in Turkey, provide a menu of actions and indicators for becoming an inclusive and gender responsive sports organization.

The Guidelines are a product of a multistakeholder participatory process, including a multinational Advisory Group led by UN Women with substantial contributions from national and international experts in the field of sports and gender equality. The Guidelines are prepared through the HeForShe Turkey and Fenerbahçe Sports Club partnership, which is supported by Tüpraş, one of Koç Holding’s companies.

Hosted by Sinem Aydın, HeForShe Coordinator of UN Women Turkey, the launch event kicked-off with opening remarks from Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. She elaborated on UN Women’s vision for partnering with the sports ecosystem to advance gender equality. “We need the world of sport to step up to lead by example and address the gender inequalities that persist within sports institutions,” Alia El-Yassir said.

The author of the Guidelines, Professor Canan Koca, from the Hacettepe University Faculty of Sport Sciences, and Chairperson of the Executive Board of the Turkish Association of Sport and Physical Activity for Women (KASFAD), made a technical presentation“All stakeholders in the sports ecosystem need to cooperate with a gender responsive approach to build an equal future,” Prof. Canan Koca said.


Two panel discussions followed the launch, featuring key actors within the global sports ecosystem. The first panel was moderated by UN Women’s Head of Programmes Zeliha Ünaldı. Philipp Müller-Wirth, Executive Officer for Sport and Youth Section Sector for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, Önder Birgül - Chief Human Resources Officer, Fenerbahçe Sports Club, Jennifer Cooper, Coordinator of Sport for Generation Equality, UN Women , Sarai Bareman, Head of Women’s Football Division, FIFA and Neşe Gündoğan, General Secretary, Turkish National Olympic Committee and Member of the Olympic Programme Commission, International Olympic Committee discussed how the Guidelines are a tool to implement the Principles of Sports for Generation Equality. Fenerbahçe Sports Club representative Önder Birgül said, “We continue our work every day with a great consciousness for the empowerment of women and girls.” Fenerbahçe Sports Club announced that they are the first sports club in Turkey to sign Sports for Generation Equality.

The second panel featured important umbrella organizations working on gender equality in sports. Moderated by sports broadcaster Nihan Cabbaroğlu, panel participants shared their reflections on how Sports for Generation Equality contribute to gender equality. The panel participants included, Dr. Carole Oglesby the Past President and Current Executive Board Member for Women Sport International as well as Professor Rosa López de D’Amico, the co-author of the Guidelines, UN Women’s counsellor and President of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women. Also participating in the panel were, Rita van Driel, Governing Board Member of the International Paralympic Committee, Rachel Froggatt, Secretary General of the International Working Group on Women and Sport, Marisol Casado from the IOC Committee. And finally, Keri McDonald, Business Development and Fundraising Manager for the Association for International Sport for All, and Dr. Uri Schaefer, President of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education.

The launch concluded with closing remarks from Asya Varbanova, UN Women Turkey Country Director.She highlighted the next steps that UN Women will take in partnering with the sports ecosystem to advance gender equality in and through sports in Turkey.

The full and brief versions of the Guidelines can be found here: www.sportsforgenderequality.org

For more information please contact:

Sinem Aydın, HeForShe Turkey Coordinator sinem.aydin@unwomen.org

İpek Naz Çınar, Communications Assistant ipek.cinar@unwomen.org