10 Mar 2019

Does Friday 8th March ring a bell?

It is International Women’s Day (IWD) and around the world people are celebrating; so are we! We take this memorable occasion to look back on the wonderful achievements of women in table tennis in the last year and on what lies ahead on our road to gender balance!

by Katarzyna Kubas

Honoured with the 2018 Female Table Tennis Star Award, 2018 Breakthrough Star Award, 2018 Female Para Table Tennis Star Award and the 2018 Most Valuable Player Award, the names Ding Ning, Manika Batra, Mima Ito and Kelly van Zon need no introduction.

They are extraordinary women who were honoured at the most awaited and remembered moment of last year, the Seamaster 2018 ITTF Star Awards held in Incheon, Korea.

Outstanding role models in mind, the goal of the Women’s Development Programme, in line with the ITTF Strategic Plan, is to increase women’s participation in the game by proliferating knowledge and skills that will empower and enrich women’s roles in table tennis, ultimately achieving gender balance within the sport. For this, girls and women need well-designed pathways to play and rule the game!

How do we do it?

At the core of our current programme is the funding of one development activity dedicated to women per continent. National associations are encouraged to take advantage of this support; those benefitting last year were Ghana (Africa), Iran (Asia), Sweden (Europe) and Costa Rica (Latin America).

Over 1,000 women participated in ITTF Development Programmes in 2018, gaining valuable skills as coaches, athletes, officials or administrators!

In addition to this, the ITTF actively participates in the sharing of knowledge and best practices with other international federations. Last year, delegates attended the third International Federation Forum on Gender Equality and the seventh IWG World Conference on Women and Sport.

However, our ambitious plans don’t end here: in the future, the Women’s Programme will grow and feature new and enriching elements with an improved efficiency working towards worldwide female participation.

Celebrate the International Women’s Day with us by playing a game of table tennis!

The players who competed in the Uncle Pop 2018 Women’s World Cup (Photo: courtesy of Uncle Pop 2018 Women’s World Cup)
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