The European Commission's Strategy for equality between men and women 2010-2015 defines some key actions to advance gender equality, ranging from getting more women into company boardrooms, employment and the fight against pay gaps to tackling gender-based violence. For the first time sport is now included in the strategy with a reference to the communication on sport and the actions mentioned in this communication. The actions especially focus on access to sport for immigrant women and women from ethnic minorities, access to decision-making positions and the fight against gender stereotypes.
There is a good reason to promote further action: The Eurobarometer on Sport and Physical Activity (2009) pointed out that girls and women are still not at the same level of participation as boys and men. The number of women in leadership positions in sport governing bodies is still alarmingly low according to the results of the EU funded Olympia project by the Italian Organization for Sport for All (UISP, 2010). Gender balance in sport is already one of the priorities in some Member States but on the European level and in the international sport movement there is still a gender gap. While some governments consider regulatory intervention as indispensable on their national level (e.g. France and Norway), others prefer to promote self-regulatory initiatives. Tied to the Europe 2020 Strategy, Commissioner Vassiliou defined the main challenge the achievement of the 30% women in sport leadership positions in governmental and nongovernmental sport bodies by 2020. Special initiatives and a long-term strategy are needed to achieve the objectives.
In its Council conclusions on the role of sport as a source of and a driver for active social inclusion (2010/C 326/04) the Council confirmed the importance of the topic by inviting the Member States and the Commission to promote actions related to mainstreaming of gender equalities into sports related activities, especially to equal gender access to decision making positions and address sport in connection to gender roles as set out in the EU gender strategy.