WOMEN EMPOWERMENT STORIES
SUPPORTING SPORTS TO BOOST GENDER EQUALITY
This article is part of our special report Supporting sports to boost gender equality.
World champions and Olympic athletes are helping empower school girls through sports to become leaders in their communities, thanks to an EU funded project.
Laurence Fischer is three-time karate world champion, a mum, an education expert and an activist. After being long involved in humanitarian work with several organisations, she founded her own charity, ‘Fight for Dignity‘, in 2017.
She fights now a new battle by helping victims of gender violence, particularly rape, to regain confidence in their bodies through karate.
The project aims at supporting women dealing with the trauma of having been assaulted to gain back control of their bodies, their dignity, their self-confidence, and their physical and mental strength.
‘Fight for Dignity’ works in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it operates in collaboration with Nobel Peace Prize winner Docteur Denis Mukwege, and in Saint-Denis (France).
As Fischer is a believer in the role of sport in empowering women, she was one of the coaches of the Erasmus + project ‘She runs’, which gathered 500 school girls from 35 countries for four days in Paris to help them become leaders in their communities through sport.
“I am convinced of the value of education through sport,” Laurence Fisher said.
Estelle Mossely is an Olympic gold medallist boxer and is also an ambassador for ‘She runs’, as she helps to raise awareness of the particular difficulties women encounter in sport, through the European Observatory of Female Sport she founded.
“I am happy to be ambassador of this initiative. Sport gave me a lot and I think I have a lot to give back to sport too,” Mossely explained.
“When you grow old it is far more difficult to change your mind, we need to start at school,” she said, “often the champions become a role-model, give hope, allow tell themselves ‘so if she could make it, why wouldn’t I?’ Personally, I wanted to act.”