Online seminar: European Women in Sport – past, present and future

To honour and celebrate the women in sport, ENGSO Equality Within Sport Committee (EWS) is organising an online seminar on International Women’s Day, March 8th at 16:00 CET, to discuss the history and the work of the European Women in Sport, their past, present and challenges ahead. 

The seminar will host former and current EWS Chairs: Birgitta Kervinen, Amanda Bennett, Kristina Thuree and Sallie Barker.

DATE: 8 March 2023 at 16:00 CET

LOCATION: Online / Zoom

European Women In Sport Seminar


  • Reflecting on the history of European Women in Sport: 30 years of challenges, focuses, and achievements


  • Looking forward: what will the coming years bring in terms of challenges, focuses and hopes.

Meet the speakers

Birgitta Kervinen

Birgitta Kervinen


  • The IOC World Trophy Winner 2017.
  • Honorary President of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation (ENGSO);
  • ENGSO President 2007-2015, ENGSO Vice President 2001-2007,
  • International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) Co-Chair 2006-2010, European Women and Sport Working Group (EWS) Chair 1998-2000.

With a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Birgitta Kervinen is a long-serving sports leader both nationally and internationally. In 2011, she was elected to her second four years term as President of ENGSO. In this position she was one of the few female presidents among the European sport organisations. During her Presidency, Birgitta Kervinen has initiated the European mentoring programs ENTER! and WILD. The last initiative taken by Mrs. Kervinen together with IOC, EOC and NOC Finland was The New Leader Program for 30 young men and women 2019.


Birgitta Kervinen has an extensive social and political network regarding sports both in Finland and internationally. She has taken many initiatives to develop sports events in Finland and is active mentoring young women in the field of sports policy.

Ms Kervinen has her background in basketball and athletics. She is a true advocate of grassroots sports and passionate about equal rights in sport and society. As a sport leader she encourages people to discover their potential and inspires them to work towards common goals.  She underlines the co-operation between generations and different stakeholders. She is President of Finnish Sport Leader Seniors.

Amanda Bennett

Amanda Bennett


Amanda was born in Cardiff and, after graduating from Loughborough University, taught Physical Education in London. In 2003 she joined UK Sport, the UK’s high performance sport agency and, over the course of ten years she co-authored the Equality Standard for Sport and led the design of the highly successful Women and Leadership Development Programme.


Amanda is a former Chair of European Women and Sport and Chair of the Sports Councils’ Equality Group. She also served on the Sport Wales board and the International Working Group on Women and Sport.


Amanda is passionate about helping people and organisations grow and develop, and, with a focus on governance, leadership and inclusion, she established FairPlay in 2013. She has worked with a range of organisations including the International Paralympic Committee, Irish Rugby Football Union and the Premier League. She also works with private and charitable bodies guiding them through development reviews that enable greater inclusion and effectiveness.


Amanda is the author of the Sports Governance Handbook and has provided specialist leadership and governance support to organisations including The Football Association, Scottish Hockey and British Blind Sport. Amanda’s current voluntary roles include Senior Independent Director with England Handball, Chair of Saracens Women and member of the England Rugby Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. She was also a Selector for the Welsh Commonwealth Games Team for Birmingham 2022.


Amanda was Wales’s first female fly half and her international playing career spanned 10 years including two Women’s Rugby World Cups. She was a founder member of Saracens Women and took up coaching after retiring. She was Head Coach with Wales and also coached the England Elite and Under 20s squads. Amanda is a previous winner of a UK Coaching National Coach Award and now mentors high performance coaches and athletes.

Kristina Thurée

Kristina Thurée


My background is grassroot sport, coming from an orienteering and skiing family in Sweden. Attending the Technical University, I was active in university sport which led to my first leader position in 1977 in the executive committee of the university sport club. All my sport career, I have worked professional as project manager and in manager positions in companies in Sweden. 

I have now been a volunteer for 46 years, with the focus on sport policy, strategic work, and sport development to make sport available for all. My special interest during all years has been to work for a sport world where women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys, to participate in sport, to be a board member, to become a leader, and an official.


Engagements within sport organisations, 1977-2023


  • Swedish University Sports Federation, Member and chair of the Executive Committee
    (1980-89, chair 1983-89)


  • Swedish Sports Confederation, Member of the Executive Committee (1989-01)
    As such, having the following positions:
  • Responsible for the work on gender equality within Swedish sport(1989-98)
  • Chair of the first European Working Group on Women in Sport (1989-1993),
    which then was transformed to become EWS (European Women and Sport)
  • Member of EWS (1993-95), organizing the first EWS Conference in Brighton 1994, which also was made international and IWG was founded 
  • Chair of EWS (1995-97), responsible for the EWS Conference 1996, in Stockholm
  • Member of EWS (1997-99)


  • Responsible for financial issues as distribution of funds, NGO lotteries
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Swedish sport research institute
  • Local sport clubs, university sport (1977-88), handball (2001-08), ExCom member, chair 
  • District Sport Confederation, Member and chair of the Executive Committee (2005-13)


  • EWS (European Women in Sport – Equality Within Sport Committee), Chair 2013-18
    • Organizing the 11th EWS Conference in Stockholm, April 2016
  • IWG (International Working Group for Women in Sport), member of the Board and the European representative 2014-18
    • Organizing the IWG Conference in Botswana 2018
  • Swedish Sports Confederation, Acting as an auditor (2017-ff)

President for the association for Swedish Senior Sport Leaders (2022-ff)

Sallie Barker

Sallie Barker


Sallie Barker is the Chair of the Equality Within Sport (EWS) Committee of ENGSO. Sallie has worked in sport for over 30 years. She originally trained to be a teacher and holds an MA in Physical Education. Sallie then worked at the GB Sports Council and Sport England for 12 years before joining the Sport and Recreation Alliance in 2002, where she was the Head of Operations. Sallie retired in 2015 and is now able to use her time on her passion – volunteering and working for her community. She is also chair of the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Steering Group, Finance and Governance Director on the Board of World Lacrosse, chair of GB Lacrosse Women’s World Cup, President of her local Women’s Institute. For her services to sport, Sallie was made an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list.

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