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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), that will run 2023-2025. The aim of the EU-funded research 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.

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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.

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

Project partners

Fondation Europeenne de la Science (ESF), Frankrike  

Göteborgs Universitet (GU), Sverige  

Kentro Erevnon Notioanatolikis Evropis Astiki mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (SEERC), Grekland  

Univerzitet u Banjoj Luci (UNIBL), Bosnien Herzegovina  

Univerza v Lubljani (UL), Slovenien  

Univerzita Karlova (CU), Tjeckien

Natsionalna Sportna Akademiya Vassil Levski (NSA), Bulgarien

Lietuvos Sporto Universitetas (LSU), Litauen  

Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara (UVT), Rumänien  

Georgian State Teaching University of Physical Education and Sport (GSTUPES), Georgien  

Universitatea de Stat de Educație Fizică și Sport (USEFS), Moldavien