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Handball Championship characterised by women

On 4 November, the day of the first win of the Slovenian women’s handball team against Denmark in Celje, a three-day sports and business conference ended in Ljubljana, as part of the European Women’s Handball Championship held in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro. The last day of the conference at the Grand Hotel Union focused on empowering women.

Women’s empowerment is one of the main topics

Women’s empowerment is one of the main topics and an important pillar of this year’s European Championship hosted in Ljubljana and Celje in Slovenia. The theme of the third day of the sports and business conference was dedicated exclusively to the enhancement of women’s role in all spheres of society from business to government, arts, culture and sports. Female speakers sharing their personal and professional backgrounds emphasised the importance of fundamental values that highlight creativity, successful management and satisfaction as the right path to success and accomplishments.

"Women’s empowerment has always been at the centre of my political agenda. As the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs, I also wish to manage a responsible feminist foreign policy. Women occupy almost half of middle and senior positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and manage about 40 per cent of our embassies. We can be proud of this data, since it serves as a solid basis for long-term fulfilment of our foreign policy commitments in the field of gender equality," said Tanja Fajon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the event.

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Katarina Karlovšek, Director of the RTA Agency and Ambassador of this year’s European Championship, emphasised that determination and hard work, not only in business, but also in sports, are the right direction for attaining success and personal satisfaction.

"If I look around in my environment, the women surrounding me are very inspiring, strong, tough and have exceptional focus. I find this very important in our small political and national environment. I think there are a lot of women in Slovenia who are brave and know how to focus, persist and do good. Let us connect more, support each other more and make everyone from abroad see our inspiring Slovenia," said Živa Ploj Peršuh, the first Slovenian female conductor at the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ljubljana.

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Jerneja Jug Jerše, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Ljubljana, presented the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025. The key objectives include the ending of gender-based violence, the challenging of gender stereotypes, the closing of gender gaps in the labour market, achieving equal participation across different sectors of the economy, addressing of the gender pay and pension gaps, closing of the gender care gap, and achieving gender balance in decision-making and politics.

Hedvika Usenik, Member of the NLB Management Board, presented her role and experience as the first female management board member of the largest bank in Slovenia and pointed to the urgent support of corporations for sports and the hard work necessary to attain success.

The conference ended with a round table that featured Marta Bon, Professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Sport and coordinator of female ambassadors of the 2022 European Championship, and Deja Doler Ivanović, Sports Director of the Krim Mercator Handball Club, who is also one of the championship’s ambassadors. They both shared important stories from sports and their experience on how to succeed as a woman in professional life and sports.

What is womens empowerment? 

What exactly does it stand for? Women’s empowerment means enhancing women’s rights to self-determination by changing social structures through political and legal changes. It is a challenge to be addressed at the level of a community and less at the level of an individual. Everyone should strive for a society that is based on equality and solidarity. 

Author: Vesna Žarkovič

Date: 14. November 2022

Time to read: 4 min