Who We Are

The Global Observatory for Gender Equality and Sport

Advancing progress for women, physical education, physical activity and sport

What is the Global
Observatory?

Recognizing the urgent need for collective action, the Global Observatory for Gender Equality and Sport (The GO) was established to advance gender equality and empower women and girls in all their diversity in and through physical education, physical activity, and sport (PEPAS). This initiative originated from UNESCO’s 4th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS IV) in Athens, Greece, in 2003. The commitment to the GO was reinforced by the 2017 Kazan Action Plan (KAP) at MINEPS VI, in Kazan, Russia and further reaffirmed at MINEPS VII in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2023, with support from over 100 member states. 

Established in July 2021 under UNESCO’s auspices, the GO is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and is supported by the Canton of Vaud, the City of Lausanne, and the University of Lausanne (UNIL). The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE) is a key partner, enhancing the Observatory’s global impact. We collaborate with governments, research institutes, civil society, the private sector, international sports federations and organizations, and UN entities at global, regional, and national levels. 

What does the Global Observatory aim to do

The Global Observatory aims to address systemic, multiple and intersecting inequalities faced by women and girls in sport and society. We contribute to the achievement of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on SDG 5 (gender equality), and support SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 4 (quality education), 10 (reduced inequalities), 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions), and 17 (partnerships for the goals).

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

 

Simultaneously we also contribute to:

         

Our strategic role is to galvanize action, inform a collective agenda, and foster cohesion through multi-sectoral partnerships using an intersectional approach. By leveraging unique partnerships and broad outreach, we support research and intersectional analyses to catalyze gender-transformative policies and coordinate evidence-based programs. Through knowledge exchange initiatives, we promote coherence and coordination, offering strategic guidance, joint advocacy, and technical assistance across global, regional, national, and community levels.

We engage with a diverse range of global stakeholders including countries, sports organizations, civil society, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN partners. We support, promote and engage in research and knowledge communication, globally. We collate and submit recommendations to UN partners, generate grassroots advocacy, and disseminate resources regarding best practices from around the world.

But as we know, too often women are not supported enough or are discouraged from choosing their path. I hope together we can change that. For me, it was a question of resilience. What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself – my race, my gender – I embraced as fuel for my success. I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.

 

Serena Williams, Tennis Player

Vision

A gender-equal, fair, safe, healthy and inclusive future for women and girls in all their diversity, throughout their life-cycle, in and through physical education, physical activity and sport (PEPAS).

Mission

Our mission is to advance gender equality for women and girls in all their diversity through physical education, physical activity, and sport (PEPAS). We achieve this through rigorous enquiry and research, coordinating and facilitating collaborative efforts and initiatives for multilevel and multi-sector capacity-building, and providing technical support.

As a data-driven, purpose-led, and people-centred association, we aspire to serve as a central hub for knowledge, networking, mobilisation and advocacy concerning gender equality in PEPAS. We aim to act as a catalyst for collective and transformative action, fostering positive change on a global scale.

Our goal is to address gender inequalities comprehensively and cultivate safe, equitable, and inclusive environments within the sports ecosystem and beyond.

Our Team

Lombe Mwambwa, PhD

Lombe Mwambwa, PhD

Research Director

Kreena Govender

Kreena Govender

Head, Policy, Strategy and Partnerships

Hayley Truskewycz, PhD

Hayley Truskewycz, PhD

Post-doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator

Do you want to join our global network, collaborate with us or contribute data, publications, and expertise?