My gender. My strength. Member Associations shine a spotlight on women’s development

The first edition of the programme, which took place in Asia and Latin America, received extremely positive feedback and attracted strong interest from a growing number of Member Associations around the world. In 2021, the second edition of the program took place on four continents, within the framework of the Africa, Americas, Asia and Oceania 2021 development programs.

To encourage MAs to present quality projects with a lasting legacy and a significant impact on the development of women in table tennis, financial support has increased, including a bonus for selected MAs.

A total of 35 Member Associations applied to be part of the programme, with the highest number of applications coming from the Americas, while 14 Member Associations endeavored to highlight their national projects. In the end, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Haiti and Guyana of the Americas prevailed with their candidacies.

As this edition was the first time the MGMS was made available to African MAs, interest in the program was very high, with a total of 12 MAs applying to join. Botswana, Central Africa, Senegal, Uganda and Ghana have finally succeeded in their projects.

In Asia, the selected associations were Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Iran, Tajikistan and Nepal, and in Oceania, Australia, New Zealand and Palau won.

In the case of the Americas, priority was given to member associations that had not been part of the program the previous year. To sustain the legacy and maintain the momentum generated by the 2019 MGMS projects, associations that had previously benefited from the program and applied again were awarded the 2021 MGMS Follow-on Project Grant for Additional Women’s Development Activity.

“We were very pleased to see the positive response and interest from Member Associations in the programme, but also the positive impact and legacy on the development of women’s table tennis that the program had left behind in 2019. The program’s goal is not just to implement the stand-alone project, but to make a positive difference through the long-term project. It’s really rewarding to know that it has triggered meaningful actions within the MAs, such as appointing women to decision-making positions, ex-players becoming full-time coaches, creating networks for women in table tennis.Also, in its second edition, we noticed a high level of commitment and willingness to make an effort for the development of women’s table tennis which has manifested itself through the applications and the commitment during the implementation of the projects, which is a very promising prospect for strengthening er and advance the participation of women in table tennis in general. said ITTF Development Manager Katarzyna Kubas.

With this program, the ITTF encourages MAs to identify their needs in the area of ​​women’s development and meet them with their project proposal. This has resulted in a variety of activities, ranging from school projects, seminars for coaches, managers and administrators to training camps, tournaments and workshops, totaling over 1200 participants on 4 continents in its second year.

Taking into account that the area that still needs a lot of attention is leadership, every project should contain a leadership component to ensure that girls and women have well-designed career paths in all their roles, from players to leaders. One of the projects that paid particular attention to this area was that of the Table Tennis Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was led by Ms. Fatimah Keyvani, Co-Chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU). The project provided management courses for women administrators and managers.

Ms. Keyvani said, “Holding courses like this usually helps to increase managers’ self-esteem and other management factors. In particular to increase the number of capable women managers who are missing in policy making and decision making. Additionally, these classes are recommended to be excellent for both genders.

One of the ITTF requirements „My gender. My strength.” program is that MAs should appoint a responsible person (national coordinator) for the coordination and implementation of the project, thus further contributing and supporting the MA in the development of women’s table tennis at the local level. Oceania, the program was well received.

“TTNZ (Table Tennis New Zealand) is passionate about the increasing participation of women in all areas of our sport and has welcomed the opportunity presented by the ITTF’s My Gender My Strength to test a pilot program for girls in three regions of New Zealand.” said Christine Young, TTNZ Operations Manager and National TTNZ Project Coordinator.

Coach Maree Nilsen said, “As a coach, I’ve enjoyed seeing the girls participate, seeing their skills develop and their confidence grow. They made friends, encouraged each other and embraced teamwork. More importantly, they had fun and want to keep playing. The program was well structured and easy to follow.

One of the member associations in the Americas that has successfully organized a national project for the first time is the Brazilian Table Tennis Federation (CBTM), coordinated by Taisa Belli.

“We had the full support of the MGMS program during all phases of the event, which helped us promote it. Registrations reached 127 participants (87% women) from 16 states in a continental country like Brazil. Our training camp included a set of actions (i.e. training with experts, lectures, workshops). The main impact of the MGMS program on the development of women in our MA has been raising awareness of the importance of gender balance and developing a network among female athletes (including para table tennis), coaches, match officials, administrators, managers and physical education. teachers and students. » Taisa Belli

The program has also been very well received in Uganda and appreciated by MA President Robert Jjagwe.

“The ITTF “My Gender My Strength” (MGMS) program has helped Uganda enroll 123 new young girls in table tennis in just 5 weeks, from October 25 to November 27, 2021. Uganda has always had a smaller number of female players compared to males, so the MGMS program is extremely important in bridging this gap and Uganda was very happy to use it to demonstrate a massive and impressive enrollment of so many new female players in a very short period of time. Due to the huge success of the program, the UTTA Annual General Meeting on February 6, 2022 approved the 2022 schedule which also included an exclusive league of MGMS schools for girls to include all schools that participated in the 2021 MGMS program in Uganda.” Robert Jjagwe

As part of the ITTF 2021 “My gender. My strength.” Program, 21 member associations received financial support and advice to implement national projects for the development of women’s table tennis, showing good practices to our table tennis community. On March 8, 2022 at 12:00 CET, four Member Associations from four different continents will have the opportunity to present their projects during a webinar in honor of International Women’s Day 2022, after a panel discussion on how to # BreakTheBias. To register, please click here.

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