Thursday, November 16, 2006

UNESCO and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announce Global Partnership to Advance Gender Equality

UNESCO and the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association Tour (WTA) just announced a landmark global partnership. The social responsibility program marks a new level of commitment to raise awareness of gender equality issues and advance opportunities for women’s leadership in all spheres of society.

Venus Williams has volunteered to serve as the first global “Promoter of gender equality” under the partnership:

“I have always believed that as the world’s leading sport for women, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help break down barriers to success for women. Through this partnership with UNESCO, our goal is to let women and girls throughout the world know that there are no glass ceilings, and to do our part to support programs that provide real opportunities for women to succeed in whatever they set their minds to.”

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura stated:
“I am very happy to announce (…) that UNESCO and the Sony Ericsson WTA are joining forces to launch a unique program between the private sector and a UN agency aimed at strengthening national commitment to women’s empowerment and enhancing women’s capacity to fully partake in all forms of societal development…”

Key planned elements of the program include:

  • A Sony Ericsson WTA Tour/UNESCO Fund for women and leadership. The fund will be endowed initially with approximately €200,000 as seed funding,
  • A “Promoter of Gender Equality” player program, which will involve players at both a global and national level in awareness raising activities as well as direct involvement in specific gender equality and women’s leadership programs throughout the world,
  • Mentoring, scholarship and fellowship programs designed create opportunities and the environment for women and girls to succeed in all walks of life and usage of existing UNESCO and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, galas and conferences as awareness and fundraising platforms. Additionally, the Sony Ericsson Championships promoters and the city of Madrid will support the program through marketing, awareness and fundraising activities. Advertising to raise awareness of gender equality issues is also planned.
Since it’s founding in 1973, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and its players have been leaders in fighting for equality, including most notably in the area of equal prize money at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

UNESCO promotes the empowerment of women, women’s rights and gender equality as an overall objective in its five fields of competence: education, natural and human sciences culture and communication/information. In particular, UNESCO seeks to integrate a gender equality perspective into all stages of its program. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the Organization’s ability to create the conditions for women and men alike, from all walks of life, to enjoy human development and peace on an equal basis.


*United Nations Girl's Education Initiative (UNGEI)
Toolkits on Education of Girls and Women
EFA Global Monitoring Report 2003/2004 (Focus on Gender and Education for All)

©Photo: AFP/USA Today

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