The Cyprus Sport Organization (CSO) and its “Women and Sport” Committee successfully organized a workshop entitled “Encouraging Women into Coaching”, which was held on May 11th 2016 at the CSO’s Conference Room. The workshop was organized under the European Program "SCORE" (Strengthening Coaching with the Objective to Raise Equality”, in which Cyprus Sport Organization participates as a Partner. The two mentors appointed by the Cyprus Sport Organisation, within the scope of the SCORE program, played a central role in the workshop.
Cyprus Sport Organization’s Chairwoman Dr. Clea Hadjistefanou-Papaellina addressed the attendees, and among other things said: "The CSO has chosen to invite you (current and future coaches & athletes) to today's workshop, recognizing the important role you can play in the effort to promote gender equality in coaching. Despite the fact that figures appear to indicate that more and more girls and women are now actively participating in sporting activities throughout Europe, the levels are still below the corresponding numbers for boys and men. Research has shown even lower numbers for women in leadership positions in sport, including decision-making and coaching, with few exceptions among European countries. Coaching, needless to say, is an extremely important aspect of sport and, unfortunately, is still recognized to a great extent as a gendered role. Barriers to female coaches have been identified on multiple levels, including individual, interpersonal, organizational and social cultural levels. I am sure that by the end of today's workshop, important information and tools will be developed, for the promotion and involvement of even more women in coaching. Be sure that the CSO will support this effort. "
The workshop targeted mainly current and former coaches, as well as athletes (future coaches). The two national mentors who have been appointed by the CSO to be educated through the SCORE Program, Stavros Michailidis and Roula Katsambi, guided the discussions, and had the chance to practice the mentoring skills developed through their first Mentors training sessions that took place in January 2016 in Cyprus. Fifty five (55) participants (current/former coaches and athletes from several Sport Federations and Clubs) attended the workshop. The discussions were enriched with short lectures by 11 female inspirational speakers (former and current champions, current and former coaches, and sport professionals) which shared their personal experiences through their sport career. Most of the speeches were very emotional and inspired the audience in order to find ways to overcome various barriers. The inspirational speakers included: Maria Papadopoulou (former Fair Play ambassador, former swimming champion and future coach), Karolina Pelentritou (Gold medal in Paralympics - Swimming, Chrystalleni Trikomiti (Fair Play ambassador, former champion of Gymnastics), Constantina Nicolaou (former shooting champion), Irene Panteli (former shooting champion, current shooting coach), Maria Ignatiu (Basketball Coach/referee), Eleftheria Christofi (long jump champion, current long jump coach) Alexia Rotsides (Volleyball coach), Nicoletta Michaelidou (sport nutritionist at a men’s team), Nikolina Kouzis (former basketball champion, basketball coach), and Jeannette Marie Giorgi Socratous (former volleyball champion, and current volleyball statistician).
The “awareness toolkit” was handed out to all participants, with the emphasis on the “recruitment” and “retain” sections.
The ultimate purpose of the workshop, was to build on the work of the Score Project, and use the skills and knowledge of the national mentors in order to create further future mentors who will assist, inspire and encourage more women into coaching.