“Cities are accountable to their citizens to provide them with eased access to an active lifestyle.”


Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne and President of the World Union of Olympic Cities

Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne and President of the World Union of Olympic Cities

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017, there is still a long road ahead before reaching gender equality. The Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions—Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. On current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years.

That’s right: 100 years!

In my role as Mayor and President of the World Union of Olympic Cities, I believe that cities are increasingly important places for tackling gender inequalities and it is our responsibility to  lead this major transformation by inventing innovative solutions.

It is our duty to work harder every day to create equal opportunities for both women and men in all areas of our activities and I am truly convinced that sport can be an effective tool in empowering girls and women.

Addressing this challenge requires the development of strong sport policies, based on a realistic diagnosis, efficient investments aimed at fostering inclusive sports practice for all and the guarantee that both men and women have access to all levels of key decision-making positions.

In sport, as in other areas, cities are living laboratories where we can invent the future and it is my privilege to offer you a platform where you can learn, share and inspire one another to move forward and work together in closing the gender gap. Actions to achieve gender equity matter more than ever, and this is why this report is so important. Hearing about best practices such as what is being done in the City of Helsinki, with the implementation of a generalised gender equality policy, is a true inspiration and a good call to take concrete action.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank WomenSport International, the International Working Group on Women and Sport and the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women for their dedication and tireless work in fostering gender equality. Moreover, let me assert my strong support for UNESCO’s initiative which aims at establishing a Global Observatory for Women, Sport, Physical Education and Physical Activity. This will be a very powerful tool in connecting actors and developing advocacy. This will also serve as an invaluable support in documenting the evolution of gender equality in sport around the world, whose data are crucial in determining our political action.

To that point, I would like to emphasize that as leaders of sport cities, we can act as a catalyst for positive change. Let’s not wait 100 years to close the gender gap. Let’s do it now.

Sincerely yours,

Grégoire Junod

Smart Cities & Sport Publication
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