|UN Women has announced International Tennis Federation (ITF) president and IOC member, David Haggerty, as a HeForShe Champion for 2021-2026. The announcement was made earlier today on the occasion of the 2021 HeForShe Summit held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA. The HeForShe solidarity movement is an international platform created by UN Women, the United Nations entity for Gender Equality, that invites men and boys to engage with the work of the women’s movement and create an equal world for all.
UN Women has selected a globally diverse network of leaders, alongside global CEOs, Presidents and Prime Ministers, from governance, non-profit and corporate sectors. Each HeForShe Champion commits to addressing gender equality through transformative policy and as a public advocate. HeForShe Champions will spearhead lasting change across countries, cultures, and communities, inspiring others to follow suit and demonstrate the value of allyship in achieving gender balance.
Haggerty said, “We know there are 87 million tennis players worldwide, 41 per cent are women and 59 per cent are men. I know that we can only fulfil our mission of delivering tennis for future generations if we address the need for a lasting change in culture across our sport that sees women on an equal footing with men at all levels. I truly believe that building this alliance with UN Women and the global HeForShe movement will be a game changer. It will transform the ITF’s ability to deliver tangible change, taking the level of engagement and accountability to a new level in every nation where we have a presence. We know that by working together we can fuel a global movement. I am immensely proud and honoured to become a HeForShe Champion and I stand for the commitments that we, the ITF, and tennis, make as part of this to support change for the betterment of society. Equality is a collective obligation; it is not an option.”
Haggerty placed equality at the core of the ITF2024 strategic agenda upon his election in 2015, and launched the ITF’s gender equality initiative, Advantage All, in 2018, forming the Gender Equality in Tennis Committee with ITF vice president, former USTA president and professional player, Katrina Adams, as Chair. Since 2018, Advantage All provides the ITF with a global platform and has embarked on a long-term journey to implement a tangible roadmap with measurable targets across five pillars: Empowerment, Culture, Balance, Value and Voice. Specifically, Advantage All aims to increase the number of women represented in decision-making and professional roles on and off the court in tennis across Leadership, Officiating and Coaching, and to provide equal opportunity and investment in the women’s professional pathway.
The ITF’s Advantage All programme can be scaled and implemented locally by the ITF’s membership of 210 nations and six affiliated Regional Associations. Progress is measured on an annual basis. The goal is to reach and inspire male leaders all over the world in order to build a coalition of national advocates who drive gender equality strategy and policy locally, evolve systems that empower women and create equal opportunity, eliminating barriers based on gender in their country.
More broadly, the ITF joins forces with the HeForShe Alliance as an international sports federation and global sports governing body to act as a role model for national and international governing bodies in tennis and other sports.