Article (15 March 2019)
SPIN Women: Breaking down
barriers for Women in Sport
The new European SPIN Women project aims at increasing participation of
migrant and minority women in and through sport. Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organization is a
project partner and participated at the kicked-off meeting in Budapest.
Looking at society at large, migrant and ethnic minority women and girls
are belonging to the most excluded and vulnerable groups. Across Europe women
athletes and players with a migrant or minority background are underrepresented
in organised sport and their contribution to sport is often invisible.
Against this backdrop the SPIN network developed the project “Sport
Inclusion of Migrant and Minority Women” (SPIN Women), which was selected as one of the successful ERASMUS+
Collaborative Partnership projects. SPIN Women aims to encourage social
inclusion and equal opportunities of women and girls with an immigrant or
ethnic minority background through increased participation in sports.
Ethnic Minority Women in
The seven partner organisations met on 15 & 16 February in Budapest
to kick-off the new initiative. The meeting at the Budapest Sport Union
Auditorium was hosted by the Hungarian partner Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights
An inspiring input was provided by Balog Gyongyi, a PE teacher
and activist with Roma background. She gave a presentation about the current plight
of Roma in Hungary. A low education level, lack of job opportunities, low
social status and no proper access to health would result in a vicious circle
for poverty and segregation. For Balog education and sport are ways to break
out from this. To involve Roma girls in sport would be easy at a primary level,
but increasingly difficult when they grow older, since teenager would have to
perform adult roles in the community.
Barriers to proceed
Another focus of discussions was around understanding of the barriers
that newly-arrived migrants such as asylum seekers and refugees face when they
try to access sport. David Lenane, the FAI National Coordinator Women's
Football presented the results of a survey in Ireland on the barriers
for female coaches to proceed to the next levels of the coach education in
Ireland. “The most common reason given was the lack of time to complete the
coaching education, so we need more online elements. And there is a lack of
role models, we have only two female pro license coaches, so there is hardly
anyone to inspire!”
A key aim of SPIN Women is to capacity-build, empower and increase
qualification of female sport actors and multipliers (coaches, administrators,
referees …) with migrant or minority background.
SPIN Women: Partners, Methods
The Erasmus+ project “Sport Inclusion of Migrant and Minority Women:
Promoting sports participation and leadership capacities (SPIN Women)” is be
coordinated by the fairplay initiative at the Vienna Institute for International
Dialogue and Cooperation VIDC. Partners are the Football Association of
Ireland (FAI), the Portuguese Professional Players Union (SJPF), Camino
(Germany), Unione Italiana Sport per Tutti (UISP), Liikkukaa – Sport
for all (Finland) and MGHRO (Hungary).
The SPIN Women project is designed to address the needs of by enhancing
the participation of migrant and minority women and girls in sport and
recreational physical activities. It aims to show the different perspectives of
migrant and ethnic minority women and to develop strategies to increase their
involvement in sports. This includes capacity-building and empowerment
components which increases the qualification and skills of female sport actors
and multipliers. Furthermore, the project is conceived to raises awareness and
to advocate for policy change within public authorities and sport governing
The SPIN Women project employs a critical empowerment approach and pays
attention to the intersectionality of migrant and minority women. The project
is the first pan-European systematic sport initiative to focus entirely on
fostering the inclusion of female refugees and asylum seekers as well as women
with an ethnic minority background (such as Roma) in and through sport.
Over a period of two years a range of activities and measures will be
implemented. The work streams are as following: 1. Research on successful
strategies and empowerment: Creating an empirical base, 2. European training
and connecting sport stakeholders, 3. Transnational Networking and advocating
for policy change, 4. Education and Raising public awareness, and 5.
Communication, Dissemination and Evaluation.
Deliverables of the project include a study report on successful
inclusion strategies, action researches, Sport Inclusion toolkit, connecting
online tool, animated educational video and the (In)Visible exhibition.
The next activity of the project will be focus group interviews with
sport educators, coaches, volunteers who work with migrant and /or ethnic minority
women and girls. These group interviews will be conducted in all seven partner
countries with the intent to identify successful inclusion strategies.
For more information:
the SPIN Women project flyer: