APSO Women Lead Sports 2024: Investing in Para Sport Leaders Globally

The Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations (APSO) is proud to announce the successful conclusion of its third edition of Women Lead Sports, a leadership programme designed to boost the skills of female and male Para Sport leaders and Gender Equality advocates at the national and international level.

Over the course of four weeks, 40 women representing 26 countries across 16 APSO member organisations, took part in intensive online sessions with trainer Gabriela Mueller. Participants included current and former athletes, international classifiers, and top decision-makers from national sport governing bodies.

The programme’s modules focus on skill-building in communication, negotiation and networking as well as the development of self-confidence and personal leadership styles.

“The training offered by the Women Lead Sports programme aligns perfectly with this year's International Women's Day theme of investing in women to accelerate their advancement,” APSO President Sabrina Ibáñez explained. 

"Women face specific challenges in the workplace and this programme has been designed specifically to empower us to better navigate our working environments, by recognising gender biases, and negotiating effectively with our relevant stakeholders.

“Studies have shown that women also have unique decision-making capabilities and it is important that we are aware of how to work with our natural abilities to cultivate a leadership style that is fresh, authentic and importantly, feels comfortable to us.

“While this is a leadership course for women, we have also had the opportunity to work alongside male participants in this programme over the years. Male allies, sponsors and mentors play key roles in the career progression of women in the sport industry. And learning to work with each other’s leadership styles is necessary for the long-term growth of our industry.”

A total of 122 participants, from a broad range of sports, have graduated from the APSO programme since it began three years ago.

Well-known in sport circles for her work in women’s leadership, Gabriela Mueller has designed the course based on 20 years of experience in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The Women Lead Sports programme is all about making participants more self-aware of their innate capabilities, the positives they bring to the table, and the areas they need to focus on to become more impactful leaders,” Gabriela Mueller said.

“Most women underestimate their personal power and influence, and through this programme we want to give each and every participant a robust set of tools to manage their careers more strategically and effectively in the short and long term.

“But improving gender equality at the decision-making levels of sport also requires long term investment and this year’s programme graduates will now find themselves part of a supportive community of women and men who they can reach out to at different stages of their career.”