Group training together outdoors.
Photo: Gabin Vallet, Unsplash

EU project will help sports institutions become more gender equal

April 19 saw the launch of SUPPORTER (SecUring sPORTs Education thRough innovative and inclusive Gender Equality Plans), an EU-funded research project that will run between 2023 and 2025. The aim of the project is to support sports higher education institutions in developing inclusive and intersectional Gender Equality Plans, with a particular focus on combating gender-based violence.

Sport is often praised for empowering young people and promoting inclusivity and team spirit. However, behind the façade, sporting environments can also be places where sexual harassment and abuse occur, and where toxic masculinity and a culture of violence thrive.

Previous studies have shown that European sport institutions often fail to protect potential victims and provide a level playing field for different groups, including those based on age, disability, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, nationality, race, and sexual orientation. Moreover, in Central and Eastern Europe, the area on which the SUPPORTER project focuses, the situation is worse than in the rest of Europe.

The aim of SUPPORTER is to contribute to the development of gender equality in eight sport institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. Through a network of partner institutions, these eight institutions will receive expert support while designing and implementing intersectional and inclusive Gender Equality Plans.

– By developing innovative and tailored gender equality plans that tackle gender-based violence from an intersectional perspective, we hope to contribute to making sports institutions safer, inclusive, and more attractive, says Sofia Strid, who leads the research in SUPPORTER.

Read more about the project here:

Project partners

Fondation Europeenne de la Science (ESF), France  
Göteborgs Universitet (UGOT), Sweden  
Kentro Erevnon Notioanatolikis Evropis Astiki mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (SEERC), Greece  
Univerzitet u Banjoj Luci (UNIBL), Bosnia & Herzegovina  
Univerza v Lubljani (UL), Slovenia  
Univerzita Karlova (CU), Czechia  
Natsionalna Sportna Akademiya Vassil Levski (NSA), Bulgaria  
Lietuvos Sporto Universitetas (LSU), Lithuania  
Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara (UVT), Romania  
Georgian State Teaching University of Physical Education and Sport (GSTUPES), Georgia  
Universitatea de Stat de Educație Fizică și Sport (USEFS), Moldova 

Researchers at UGOT: Sofia Strid (Department of Sociology and Work Science), Angelica Simonsson (Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research), Karin Grahn and Suzanne Lundvall (Department of Food and Nutrition and Sport Science)