26 Feb 2024

The Sustainability and Gender Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (GEDI) session held on 22 February at BEXCO, Busan, during the ITTF Summit 2024 was a resounding success, bringing together key figures and stakeholders dedicated to shaping a sustainable and inclusive future of our sport.

Led by Karine Teow, Head of Sustainability, the session commenced with an introduction by ITTF President Petra Sörling, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the sport is prepared for the future in all its diversity. President Sörling’s passionate welcome set the tone for an engaging and insightful discussion.

“Life, it is about people, planet, and prosperity, but it’s also about us feeling included. Today, as we gather in this room, let’s not just acknowledge those present but also those who are not. Each absence provides us with an opportunity to widen our perspective and ensure that every voice is not only heard but truly valued. Let’s always strive to create a space where everyone feels heard, seen, and respected. Together, let’s work towards inclusivity, regardless of gender, age, ability, or background.”- ITTF President Petra Sörling

Karine Teow then delved into the Sustainability & Planet Action Plan, highlighting the ITTF’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable practices. The session proceeded with a fireside chat featuring ITTF Gender and Diversity Commissioner, Hajera Kajee. Her insights into the GEDI Action Plan shed light on the necessity and urgency of promoting gender equality, diversity, and inclusion within our sport.

Following that, Katarzyna Kubas, ITTF Head of Development Projects, took the stage and provided valuable perspectives on development actions within the framework of the GEDI Action Plan. The interactive “Best Practices Exchange among MAs” workshop facilitated meaningful discussions and collaborations among participants, further reinforcing the ITTF’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and collaboration.

As the session drew to a close, Kevin Carpenter, ITTF Head of Integrity Unit, provided an update on the ITTF’s approach to safeguarding and safe sport. His informative session underscored the importance of maintaining integrity and upholding ethical standards within the sport.

The session concluded with insights from UN Women Korea Director, Jeongshim Lee, who highlighted the crucial role of gender equality and inclusion in sports, offering valuable perspectives from the UN Women’s standpoint. The ITTF had the privilege of hosting UN Women’s esteemed representative at this pivotal session. Lee graciously expressed her sentiments, stating, “It is my great pleasure and honour to participate in this important session today, during the world championships in Busan. I’d like to thank you, Petra Sörling, President of the International Table Tennis Federation and member of the International Olympic Committee, for extending this invitation.”

Following her address, Ahjung Lee, UN External Relations Specialist, further commented on ITTF’s GEDI Action Plan, expressing deep appreciation. She remarked, “We are extremely grateful and pleased that the ITTF GEDI Action Plan has faithfully followed the UN Guidelines for gender-responsive sports organizations. We’re also very pleased to see your action plan mention that men are allies. This is an absolutely critical concept in gender equality. Gender equality is not for women alone. This is for men and women, children and adults alike. We all have a part to play!”

A moderated Q&A session provided attendees with the opportunity to further engage with the speakers and delve deeper into the topics discussed, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the key issues at hand.

In her closing remarks, ITTF President Petra Sörling reiterated ITTF’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, urging all stakeholders to continue their efforts in driving positive change within the sport. The Sustainability and GEDI session at the ITTF Summit 2024 served as a testament to the federation’s dedication to creating a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future for table tennis worldwide. More sessions will take place at the ITTF Summit 2024 here at the ITTF World Championships Finals 2024.

General News ITTF Summit 2024