Celebrating International Women's Day with ITTF Foundation: Championing Gender Equality and Inclusion in Table Tennis

Today, on International Women's Day, the ITTF Foundation proudly stands at the forefront of promoting gender equality and inclusion within the realm of table tennis. As an organisation committed to making a difference, we are dedicated to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Equality. Among our projects, 20% work towards this goal, which is the highest to serve a particular SDG, along with SDG 4 – Quality Education.

Our efforts extend beyond mere intentions; they are reflected in our actions. In fact, nearly half of all participants in ITTF Foundation projects identify as female, demonstrating our commitment to inclusivity and equal representation. Additionally, our volunteer base boasts nearly 50% female representation, while 35.7% of project leaders are women. While these statistics are commendable, we acknowledge that there is always room for improvement.

One area where we aspire to do better is in our social media presence. Currently, 76.9% of our followers are male—a trend not uncommon in digital platforms. However, we recognise the importance of diversifying our audience and are actively working towards achieving a more balanced representation. (More details can be seen here)

In line with our dedication to diversity and inclusion, the ITTF Foundation has chosen these themes for both 2024 and 2025. This commitment has been embraced not only by our organisation but also by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and World Table Tennis (WTT). Initiatives such as the World Table Tennis Day will serve as platforms to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusion on 23rd April 2024 and 2025.

Moreover, through the Dream Building Fund, we recently selected five new projects out of 177 applications, with a primary criterion being their alignment with diversity and inclusion principles. This fund, powered by The Foundation for Global Sports Development, exemplifies our dedication to supporting initiatives that foster inclusivity.

One significant partnership that embodies our mission is our affiliation with the 'Girls Positive and Safe Coaching Pathway' initiative, led by TAFISA and Nike Inc.

This project aims to raise awareness about the importance of an active lifestyle among girls and women, promoting safeguarding as well as body confidence, while also providing tailored coaching and training opportunities to enhance their participation in all levels of sports.

ITTF Foundation is proud to be affiliated with ITTF, as the sports federation recently was recognised by the Director of the UN Women Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality, Jeongshim Lee, for its commitment to advance gender equality practices.

She stated that ITTF’s Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion (GEDI) Action Plan aligns closely with UN Women guidelines, serving as a model for other federations.

ITTF Foundation’s Julia Tappendorf, a pivotal member of the ITTF GEDI Task Force, has played a crucial role working with the other members of the ITTF Group in creating and syncing the plan with the UN's framework. Her dedication underscores our commitment to championing gender equality and inclusion at every level.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us reaffirm our pledge to continue striving for a world where every individual, regardless of gender identity, has equal opportunities to thrive. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable future through the power of table tennis.

To learn more about the ITTF’s partnership with UN Women, visit https://www.ittf.com/2024/03/08/ittf-and-un-women-forge-partnership-to-promote-gender-equality-through-table-tennis/.

Join us as we pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow.

Happy International Women's Day!

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