Women Lead Sports helping to #Breakthebias for more gender equality in sport

Following weeks of intensive training, 40 hand-picked participants from 19 countries have completed the Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations (APSO) Women Lead Sports (WLS) programme, which supports the development and active participation of women in decision-making within para sport organisations worldwide.

Created by award winning trainer and professional coach Gabriela Mueller, the programme is designed to give women the tools they require to become effective negotiators, communicators, change-agents and influential leaders in sports governance structures.

“The opportunity to work with Paralympic and para sport representatives, former and current para athletes, as well as women in leadership positions, has made me realise how passionate I am about continuing this impactful work,” Gabriela Mueller said.

“I am proud of our outstanding participants who have all shown a ‘can-do’ attitude and demonstrated the qualities required to lead their teams and organisations. As they all become leaders in their sports, they continue to inspire all of us to try a little bit harder, aim higher and think bigger.”

While achieving equality on the field-of-play is a main priority for many sports, addressing the conspicuous lack of representation of women in leadership positions is also a major focus for para sports organisations.

“Gender parity and a culture of inclusivity lead to stronger governance structures and better problem-solving abilities,” APSO President Sabrina Ibáñez explained.

“This is why programmes like Women Lead Sports are so important to the future of our industry. We need to give more women the tools they need to become confident leaders who can inspire future generations.

“Breaking the bias was a key theme for International Women’s Day this year. Biases, unconscious or deliberate, make it difficult for women to move ahead professionally and this is problematic for the sport industry which requires more diversity and inclusion if it is to stand the test of time.”

This year’s participants included executives, former Paralympians, as well as committee and board members from Summer and Winter Paralympic sports federations. 

“The APSO leadership course provided me the opportunity to connect with amazing women from all over the world and has given me great confidence, motivation and energy to go forward in my job,” former Paralympian and coach at Scottish Curling Angela Malone said.

“The programme allowed me to work on my negotiation skills, and has empowered me to succeed. I want to make a difference in disability sport and enable people to enjoy the fun side of sport, as well as the physical and mental benefits it brings.”