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How do you see the impact of your position in ISF, for girls?
Young women experience discrimination based both on gender and on age. In particular, through critical gaps in funding and available resources for education and skills development. From my position I try to do the most possible to help create a more gender-balanced world, and create an environment where young girls feel comfortable, safe, valued, and involved. My leadership role allows me to identify ways where we can make changes in the culture, environment, and activities that we offer to encourage and increase participation of girls. One of the most important roles is to influence the ability of young women to realise their full potential as future leaders.
What is the message you would like to address to young girls on the importance of practicing school sport?
Studies have shown that girls experience a dramatic drop in confidence at the onset of adolescence. Girls involved in sport feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming a reality. Other self-esteem boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and making new friends.
What would you say to the public authority leaders regarding investment in school sport?
Investing in school sports is the best possible investment in the health of young people as well as their social, cultural, and mental development. School sport places an emphasis on the development of young people, and not so much on sports results, so it is extremely important to engage youth in school sport.
In your opinion, how important are international sport events for the youth population and for young girls?
International sport events are a great opportunity for intergenerational learning and collaboration. They provide experiences that are enjoyable and satisfying, encourage acceptance of one’s socio-economic status, origin, and culture. By participating in sport events, young girls develop feelings of cohesion and belongingness, and they receive emotional support from peers and others.
How did you manage in your sport environment (schools, club, federations...) through the COVID-19 situation, specifically for girls and what are the specific challenges for them?
The biggest challenge was to keep young people physically active and interested as well as influence their perception of a new situation that did not have a clear outcome. In contrast, we had more time to devote to their mental development as well as provide them with additional education. I have to admit that we managed to get to know our students far more, and I believe that our new understanding will contribute further to their sports development.
Message from ISF President Laurent Petrynka & ISF Gender Equality Committee Chair Valérie Lebondo
About Dragana Majcen
From Croatia, Dragana Majcen is the ISF Dance Technical Commission Coordinator. Having spent the past 18 years involved in Dance as a teacher, she has participated in educational programmes such as SUCCESS – Sport Management and Leadership, and the IOC ASMC Management of Olympic Sport Organizations. As President of the Croatian DanceSport Federation, Dragana is also the Secretary General of the Continental Association of Europe of the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), as well as a member of the WDSF Equality Commission.
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