Tackling violence against women and girls in sport: A handbook for policy makers and sports practitioners

Illustrations of women playing sports
May 2023
Number of pages:
Spotlight Initiative, UN Women, UNESCO

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most pervasive human rights challenges in the world today and is rooted in gender inequality, discrimination, and harmful cultural and social norms that emphasize men’s superiority over women and normalize violence toward women.  

Sport both responds to and shapes the society in which we live – particularly with respect to norms around masculinity and gender, which in turn influence the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of men and women, boys and girls, both on and off the playing field. Sport has been an environment for some of the most egregious cases of sexism and VAWG. Yet it has also demonstrated tremendous potential to foster gender equality and address the conditions at the root of VAWG.

UN Women, UNESCO and Spotlight Initiative have developed this Handbook to facilitate informed and constructive conversations about how we can work together to address VAWG in sport. This Handbook aims to create a shared understanding of the problem, offer practical tools for addressing VAWG in sport and propose areas for effective collaboration. This Handbook is aimed at sports practitioners and policy makers wishing to address VAWG in sport.

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