12 August 2021

GEA organised sport activities to raise awareness of the importance of women’s participation in sport

Two multiplier sport events took place at the Sherwood Festival and Ragazze nel Pallone

In the context of Step up Equality, on the 9th of July, the Olympic champion Antonella Bellutti and Luisa Rizzitelli president of ASSIST, were hosted at the Polisportiva San Precario stand at the Sherwood Festival, independent music festival that also promotes awareness-raising events in Padova, Italy, to promote research and information on female athletes and female leadership roles in the world of sport. They presented the structural barriers in society and sports institutions that hinder women’s careers. Antonella Bellutti talked about her sporting career and her run for the leadership of CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) presented this year, she was the first woman to run for the presidency of CONI. Luisa Rizzitelli spoke about her career as a volleyball player, female speaker and commentator of national volleyball matches and the foundation of ASSIST (National Association of Female Athletes) which aims to offer support and be a concrete tool to denounce gender discrimination in sport and to network. The presentation stimulated a lively debate among audience members, who gave their experience and views on the current Italian situation.

The following day, on July 10th, GEA carried out the multiplier sport event named “Step Up Equality Sport Camp: voices of female athletes and leaders in Europe on women’s leadership in sport”. Many interviews with female athletes at one of the biggest women’s sport festivals in Europe, Girls in the Ball (Ragazze nel Pallone).  During the event, a panel discussion was organised, which was also attended by the athletes participating at the event tournament, including Antonella Bellutti, Luisa Rizzitelli (ASSIST), Alice Bruni, Camilla Baldini, Paola Cosma (Gea Coop Sociale) and Francesca Masserdotti (psychologist and trainer in the project workshops) who represented Step up Equality project. The interviews focused on discrimination, barriers and characteristics of a leader. Video recordings are available in Italian at request.  In addition, female athletes were interviewed who spoke out about the discrimination and obstacles they had suffered during their sporting careers. The girls interviewed also wanted to send a message to support and stimulate the sports participation of all girls and future women. Moreover, during the event of Ragazze nel Pallonte GEA had an info space where the project was presented and the report and gadgets were distributed to partners and athletes.

To conclude, on the 4th of August GEA organised a multiplier sport event. The sport activities were attended by refugee women, asylum seekers and foreign women living in Padua for several years together with their children. During the event, dance and self-defence classes were organised, with the attendees proposing typical African dances. Many women, being mothers from a young age, having to take care of children and household chores, and lacking resources and networks, do not practice any sport at all in most cases. This is why we wanted to use a type of sport that they recognise and already practise as a cultural practice, in order to initiate a process of information and awareness-raising about the importance of constant and participatory sports practice. The event was successfully conducted by the professional dancer Sofia Cominato and the sport activists Pedro Cañada Lapuerta, Paola Cosma e Camilla Baldini. The sport event was focused on increasing access to organised physical activity and opportunities of social inclusion and active engagement and raising awareness on the importance of women’s sports participation

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