7th IWG World Conference On Women And Sport


Conference Background

The 7th World Conference will be held from the 17th-20th May 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana. The Conference will be held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC). The Conference will be held under the theme “Determine The future. Be Part Of The Change”. The conference will feature 6 plenary sessions and side events that will cover various issues under the following topical sub themes.



"Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development." UN Sustainable Development Goals! Government and non-government organizations including sport agencies must provide access to physical activity and sports as a strategy to support girls' and women’s health. We must address their training, nutritional and psychological needs. We must also commit resources and education to addressing unique barriers, such as eating disorders and sexual and reproductive health. We must open this dialogue to HIV/AIDS and chronic disease treatment, mental illness support, and related needs for girls and aging women. All of these physical and lifetime participation struggles beg attention, research and inclusion in our effort to open doors for the health benefits of sport.


SAFE SPACE: Protecting Women in Sport

"Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle." ~ Wilma Rudolph. But the struggle should not include fighting violence against women for the right to play sports. Nor should bullying or violence on the field of play be an obstacle to participation. Sport culture should be free of abuse and of coaches and athletes must be a priority for real change. Without safe space to play, the human right to participate in sport is unreachable. Safe access to sporting facilities be accorded to girls and women.


TELL THEIR STORY: Leveraging Media to Advocate for Women's Sport

An improved future for women's sports requires a telling of their stories - women as competitors, leaders, role models. Compelling accounts that celebrate women's sports and that demonstrate participation's positive impact on individual lives and a stronger community. Those stories can take many forms - research, promotion by sport federations, journalists as advocates for change, and the use of social media to advance attention to and support of women as athletes. The change agents in women's sports need best practices for persuading the media and public to support women's achievement and access. Our athletes need their voices to be lifted to the mainstream. They need to leverage media support and also benefit from the increasing spectator and financial support.



The welcoming inclusion of girls and women in physical activity and sports requires both an accommodating culture and leadership structure. The inclusion of girls and women in turn impacts that culture in positive and productive ways. Explicit and implicit bias against gender and gender roles, but also religion, political affiliation, economic and marital status, race, sexual orientation, immigrant status, and disability must be overcome through education, access, resources and appreciation for the positive impact of empowering girls and women through sport. Girls and women need equitable opportunities, quality coaching and safe facilities, safe and affordable access, and leadership role models at all levels of sport to realize acceptance as athletes and citizens and full inclusion and celebration of their participation.


SPORT WITHOUT BORDERS: Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Explore the possibilities of cross-cultural, trans-national and partnerships with non-sport entities to advance positive change for women in sport. Discuss how these partnerships can open new opportunities such as non-traditional sports development, disability access, migrant and refugee participation. Incorporate technology and strategies from other industries to reduce gender role myths and barriers. Transformative change requires innovative thought, courageous leadership, and a movement that brings diverse people and approaches to the effort.


LET THEM LEAD: Changing the Leadership Landscape of Sports

“The leadership in international sport is an exclusive club of men” ~ Richard Lapchick, Sports Researcher and Advocate. From the Olympic to NGO and federation to local level, women are excluded from positions of leadership in dramatic fashion. Leadership and coaching opportunities need the light of research and meaningful change in representation. Key stakeholders in women’s sport must value women’s governance contributions and involve women in policy and resource allocation debates. Participation in sport helps women lead healthier lives and develops leadership skills that should not be left on the bench. We must create leadership avenues for women at all levels of sport to change the future of sport access for all.