ENGSO at the 8th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport

As the official representative for Europe, Sallie Barker, the chair of ENGSO Equality Within Sport (EWS) Committee, participated in the 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport, which was held on 14-17 November 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand.

On behalf of the ENGSO EWS Committee, Sallie organised and led the European Regional Meeting, which took place on the occasion of the conference, and gathered European stakeholders present with the aim to connect and discuss the state of equality in Europe. Jen Browning (present on site) and Sarah Townsend (participated online), the members of ENGSO EWS Committee, both contributed to the event by raising the voices of the European grassroots sport community.

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“Change inspires change” was the motto of the 2022 edition of the 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport, taking place in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Throughout the four days of activities and discussions, the event gathered professionals, experts, leaders, coaches and other sports personnel with a passion for strengthening women’s sport, from both, professional and grassroots sport. The hybrid format, with the on-site and online sessions, opened the event to the global public.

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Sallie Barker, EWS Committee Chair (on-site), together with EWS Committee members Jen Browning (on-site) and Sarah Townsend (online) raised the voices of the European grassroots sport movement and promoted the extensive work ENGSO and its partners are implementing in the field of equality in sport in Europe.


Sallie Barker led the European Regional meeting that gathered the European stakeholders and discussed the state of gender equality in sport in Europe.


Where should the European sport movement focus its efforts?


What will be the biggest challenges in the near future?


How could we be more effective through collaborating and sharing?


The meeting took place during the conference, on 16 November 2022, with participants from Europe discussing the above-mentioned questions, followed by “World Café” workshops on leadership, media and participation.



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Speakers included in the European Regional meeting were Annamarie Phelps, EOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission Chair, Francine Hetherington Raveney, Deputy Executive Secretary of EPAS Council of Europe, Dame Katherine Grainger, and Sarah Townsend, EGLSF Co-President and ENGSO EWS Committee member.


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The 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport was the first edition of the conference in IWG history that included an indigenous-focused session. More than 115 participants travelled to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei marae for the First Nations/Indigenous Workshop. The group included Mi’kmaq, Cree/Ojibway, Māori, Pacific Islands, Metis, Melanesia, Motu Koitabuan, Japanese, Guam, Laos, Innu Canadienne, North American Indigenous – Mohawk, Kadazan and Chinese indigenous representatives.


The conference ended with the official handover to the 2026 hosts – United Kingdom. During the handover ceremony, the mauri (life force) stone – Te Hā o Hine (female essence) was passed to the representatives of the UK who will host the 9th edition of the conference in 2026 . Now, it is time for Europe to carry forward the kaupapa.


About the IWG


The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport is the world’s largest network dedicated to empowering women and girls and advancing sport. Established in 1994, the IWG developed and remains guardian of the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration, which now has 550+ signatories – organisations committed to its principles.


The IWG advocates year-round, encouraging global leaders to make positive change. Every four years, it stages the IWG World Conference, the world’s largest gathering of experts on gender equity in sport and physical activity.


The IWG Secretariat & Conference 2018 – 2022 was held by New Zealand. The next Secretariat & Conference 2022-2026 is hosted by the UK.


To know more about the IWG, visit their website: https://iwgwomenandsport.org/






Photos: IWG Women and Sport, Getty Images