Introduction gender

Gender equality is needed

In many developing countries, the role of women is still subordinate to that of men. Women have less freedom than men in making choices to develop themselves, their talents and skills. Girls are expected to do a lot of work in the household and have less access to education than boys. Girls are often married off at a young age. If activities are organised in the community, they are generally just for boys and men.

For well-balanced and sustainable social development, men and women must have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities: gender equality. The third UN millennium goal is to promote equality of men and women. Gender equality is therefore an important theme for development cooperation.

Role of sport

Sport can make a significant contribution to improving the position of women. By offering sports activities to girls and women, they get a chance to develop and increase their self-confidence. Girls and women who excel at sport can act as role models for other girls and women. Ultimately this can lead to a change in the self-image of women. By letting girls take part in sports together with boys - and by convincing parents and community leaders that sport is also positive for their daughters - the preconceptions boys and men have about girls can be eliminated. Greater independence in sport can lead to greater independence in other areas of life and can thus help strengthen the position and the rights of women.

But how do you work effectively on gender equality in sport and development projects?

Obstacles and solutions

This section will describe the concepts and offer some insight into obstacles to women's participation in sport programmes. In addition, it will discuss the conditions for successful projects and give a summary of incentive measures. The section winds up with a conclusion and recommendation for effectively tackling the issue of gender equality in sport and development projects.


  • This section is based on the Lessons Learned in this toolkit and on the results of two conferences in Casablanca on Gender Equity in Sport for Development initiated by Nike and organized in cooperation with Association Marocaine Sport & Développement (AMSD), Mama Cash, NCDO, Swiss Academy for Development (SAD) and Women Win. Go to the conference website (also available on CD-ROM) for all presentations, a photo gallery and the conference reports.
  • We would also like to thank Martha Saveedra, PhD, University Berkeley and Marianne Meier, SAD for sharing their knowledge and expertise. Go to the section Documents about gender for their papers and power point presentations.