The EU is to take action for more gender equality in sports 

At the end of 2023, the Council  of the EU approved its conclusions on women and equality in the field of sport, with the ambition to increase the proportion of women in sports leadership positions, prevent all forms of harassment and protect victims of gender-based violence, and increase coverage of women’s sport competitions. 

First question that comes to your mind might be “What are European Council Conclusions and what do they mean?”. The European Council (which is constituted of every EU Member States’ head of state) adopts conclusions during EU summits to identify specific issues and highlight actions to take to solve these issues. In short: it now means that the Commission is called to include the sports sector in its gender equality strategies, leading to legal actions in Member States.  

These conclusions came as part of the European Union Plan for Sport for the period from January 2021 to June 2024. This plan established the Spanish Presidency (that took place from July 2023 to December 2023) as the leader of the “Safe Environment in Sport” key topic, which aimed at preventing harassment, abuse and violence, including sexual violence and any form of discrimination, by raising awareness and promoting the exchange of best practices and knowledge building.  

In addition to this key topic, the Spanish presidency was also the leader for the “gender equality” key topic, with the objective of increasing the share of women, especially among coaches and leadership positions in sports organisations and sports clubs, ensuring equal conditions of female and male athletes (and other sports positions such as coaches, officials, staff, etc.), and increasing the media coverage of women’s sport competitions and fight against stereotypes etc.  

As the European elections are coming in June, and these topics were not listed on the 2024 work programme of the Commission, these priorities will only be addressed in the following mandate, from 2025 onwards, we advise you to remain patient. However, the EU released a publication in December 2023 on the contribution of Sports to the European Green Deal, based on the work of the Green Sport Expert Group which was set up by the EU Work Plan mentioned above. An interesting read to keep us waiting for more!  

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