HANDBALL: International Women’s Sports Day, female leaders in handball

On the occasion of the International Women’s Sports Day, the French Handball Federation wanted to pay special attention to women involved in handball, especially those working in positions of responsibility.

In recent years, FFHandball has stood out in particular by taking a stand in favor of gender parity and has been a pioneer in training and supporting women in these positions.

Since 2016, the Federation has established the “Women’s Success” system to support women on their way to responsible positions. The modules are designed as a personal development tool so that participants are aware of their leadership skills. “When we set up these training courses, we realized that 75% of the participants later presented themselves in the federal regional or departmental elections, supporting Béatrice Barbusse, Deputy Vice President of FFHandball. There were cadets from Réussir au feminine in the three lists that presented themselves to the presidency of the federation. Today, the program is expanded and opened to help high-level sportswomen like Gnonsiane Niombla or Karolina Zalewski develop their skills as athletes. To date, around one hundred women leaders have been trained since 2016, and for the Federal Vice President, “this is also a way at the federal level to identify them, find them and follow their journey. It’s a detection program to prepare for the future.” Although he was president before participating in Réussir au feminine, Delphine Breton, president of the Ardennes committee and new member of the board of directors, was able to take advantage of this training, which gave him many additional tools: “It allowed us. to meet other people and get information about areas where we are a little behind”.

The Succeeding With Women program is not the only training available that aims to help women reach the highest levels of federations, clubs, committees or leagues. This is the work of Betty Rollet, general secretary and board member of the Hauts-de-France league, regional representative of FFHandball, who was able to follow the “Women of High Potential” training set up. By the Femix association in partnership with the Française des Jeux. This training brings together women from all sports, leaders as well as elite sportswomen, “which created all the richness and exchange of this group because we each had our own experiences and skills and ‘we grew'” sums up Betty. He talks about his experience.

The desire of women who want to get responsible positions is not new. This aspect has been democratized in recent years, but some women did not expect to participate in training to become leaders. Maria Hugue, president of the Issy Paris Hand amateur club, began her career as a member of the board of directors before being elected president of the club six years ago. A choice that can be explained by his “high level and desire to promote and care for young people. I would like to give everyone a chance to play handball, whether it’s a competition or training.”

Even if handball is at the forefront in this regard, there is still a long way to go before women are represented as men in positions of responsibility. Women’s lack of confidence partly explains this lack of representation, but for Maria Hug: “There are not enough women in handball, so we don’t have the courage to tell ourselves that we can do it, that we can achieve it. there.” Self-confidence and courage seem to be the key words for the vast majority of women to dare and enter the paths aimed at obtaining key positions.

The French Handball Federation has integrated parity into its activities and works to promote female leaders in handball. The Federation’s support for these women is an ever-increasing asset in democratizing their place in governing bodies.

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