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Country: Sweden

Organisation responsible: The Swedish Confederation of Sports

Main topic addressed: Gender equality in leadership / Gender equality in participation (grassroot or elite sport) / Gender equality in policy making

Type of resource/practice: Educational tools (training activities, curricula, educational materials) / Tools for self-assessment / Awareness raising initiatives/materials

Discipline: Multi-sport

Target group(s): Employees, coaches and elected representatives in sport organisations

Timing: 2017-2021

Language: Swedish, partly in English

Brief description of the practice: The educational course is one full day, in physical form or via video conference.
During the day we go through the five steps (towards a gender equal and inclusive sports movement, described below), where they get to know tools for getting started and follow, through a norm, critical work with inclusion within in their own organisation.
The key to implementation is that the participants can use the tools in their own environment and obtain strength to bring these kinds of questions to the table.
Another course linked to the one above is one that is focused on how to inspire and motivate clubs and organisations to work with gender equality, especially those which are not interested from the start. Questions answered in the training course are: what arguments are being brought up against gender equality or inclusion in sports? How does the development work within the sport organisation or club become stronger when wearing the “gender equality and inclusion” spectacles? Why is gender equality and inclusion important for a relevant sports movement in the future?

Content and objectives: The training and tools’ aims are to raise awareness about how norms are affecting individuals, groups and clubs/organisations where some people stand to make gains because of them, but others obtain less resources and power because of them. An important part of the practice is raising awareness on how to challenge the norms, to make sure people and groups have equal opportunities when doing sport, coaching and leading, and in policy-making processes in sports in Sweden. Gender equality is the core but other aspects like gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social and ethnic background and disability are also being brought up within the training and in the tools because of the importance of being able to understand the intersections between power structures in this type of work.

Steps/activities of the practice: 

1) Situation: where do the organisations stand today?
The participants get time to think about the situation today and reflect on who can easily fit into the organisations - what is the norm in our organisation? During this step they use a tool called “Samtalsduk” or “Discussion scarf” where they take a look in their own locker room, board room, training and competition arena to think about who is there today, who is not there, what does the jargon sound like - can everybody feel welcome? They also have time to reflect on the question “why”? Why does it look this way?
In step 1 they also use a tool called “The teflon test” where they get to identify if they have experienced sexism, racism, homophobia or transphobia and also discuss which privileges come with the experience of being a part of the norm and not have experienced oppression of any kind. That can be a good start in realising one’s own part of the structure.

2) Goals: where is the organisation heading?
The participants get the chance to think about where they are heading and what goals are realistic to set for the near future.

3) Knowledge audit: what does the organisation need to learn in order to reach the goals?
The participants get the chance to reflect on the subject of what do we not know today? For instance, if the club is made up of all white members and they want to reach a broader variety of people they might have a challenge related to knowledge about racism and white privilege and have to make sure they get that knowledge in order to develop their club in a more inclusive direction.

4) Action: what does the organisation need to do and what changes must be pulled through in order to reach the goals?
Words need to become actions and the clubs practice, in step 4, to see what needs to be done. Is there something they need to start doing, continue doing or stop doing?

5) Support and resistance: where can the organisation (the persons responsible for the change) find support? Where is the resistance?
Subjects concerning power structures and privileges can start processes of guilt, anger and are likely in a group or organisation. Therefore, it is important to think about what kind of resistance the work can come up against and how it can be handled. The participants identify who they need to have on board (for instance the boards) in order to be able to pull the work and changes through.

Resources required: The training and tools are a part of a bigger strategy the Swedish sports movement are in: Strategy 2025 where Gender equality for successful sports and An inclusive sports movement for all is one of the main areas. An important factor has been that the leading board of the sports movement has been clear about which direction to go in and that gender equality is a question for everyone, regardless of gender or position. 
One person was recruited to lead the work with gender equality within the Swedish sports movement, one person was recruited to set up the training and the tools. There was a project group with five colleagues from various parts of the organisation formulating the training. It was linked closely to other processes being done within the organisation/movement.
The educational site was an important tool to have, where all the tools are being placed and where videos and texts about certain topics within the area of gender equality and inclusion can be found.

Achievements and outcomes: Around 1000 people in Sweden participated in the training during the first year. We hope that this will be a good base for the organisations and clubs in their work to challenge old traditions and norms in order to become more inclusive.
Our local districts have started to have their own training courses for the clubs, which was one of our goals.

Challenges and limitations: A challenge is to be able to reach the organisations and clubs that are less interested in these questions. Our focus, though, has been to reach the ones who are interested and to strengthen them in their work and also reach the ones who know very little but who are interested.

Follow-up ideas and future plans: The training is given several times each year for employees, board members and individuals in the sports movement where the tools used can easily be found for free online and can be used by individuals, coaches, clubs/organisations. The plan is to extend and update the site with new topics where we listen to our co-workers all over Sweden, what their needs are when meeting with the clubs.

Further information: ,

Contact person: Sofia B. Karlsson,

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