Sport empowers women and girls, says head of UN Women

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A girl passes a ball during a drill at basketball training session in Mogadishu, Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Sport plays an important role in uplifting girls and demonstrating their ability to conquer adversities.

That's what the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said at the start of a panel discussion on Sport for Women's Empowerment held in New York on Monday.

The event, jointly organized with the International Olympic Committee, brought together representatives of governments, civil society and sports personalities.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

Using sports terminology, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that working for equality between men and women has been a marathon.

She described the session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York as the start of the final sprint to equality before 2030.

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka expressed the hope that the finish line is now in sight and that everybody is going to be a sprinter to achieve gender equality outlined in the Platform for Action adopted in Beijing 20 years ago.

"The Beijing Platform recognized the many benefits of sports and physical education for women and girls. The importance of sports for girls also affirms excellence in girls and helps to uplift girls sometimes in situations where they are fighting against all odds but their talent shines through and through that, they are able to conquer adversities. Yet, with all of the achievements by many girls around the world, gender stereotypes still exist." (29")

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that many of the gender stereotypes, which are not confined to sports but exist across the board, keep women down.

She pointed out that that through engaging in sports and living its values, women and girls can develop leadership skills, overcome bias, improve their health and become empowered.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'32"

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