U.K. wins bid to host IWG quadrennial 2022 – 2026

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London and Birmingham to host the IWG Secretariat & World Conference 2022 – 2026 quadrennial period, taking over from Aotearoa New Zealand on 1 October 2022.

The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport is delighted to announce the United Kingdom (U.K.) as host to its next quadrennial period, from 1 October 2022 – 30 September 2026. The U.K. will receive the baton from Aotearoa New Zealand, shortly after it finishes global delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Auckland and Online, between 5-8 May 2022.

The quadrennial period includes a 4-year commitment to leading the delivery of the IWG Secretariat 2022 – 2026, the strategic and administrative function for the global network. It also includes design and delivery of the 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in mid-2026, the world’s largest gathering of those engaged or interested in accelerating gender equity in sport and physical activity.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance will take over international leadership from Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA), current global delivery agent for the IWG quadrennial 2018 – 2022 in New Zealand. It represents a consortium of U.K. agencies, including UK Sport and Sport England, which bid together to bring the IWG “home” to the U.K. The IWG was originally established at the 1st IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Brighton in 1994, and has travelled to Namibia, Canada, Japan, Australia, Finland, Botswana and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The agreement was signed this week by the IWG Global Executive, IWG New Zealand (WISPA) and IWG U.K. (The Sport and Recreation Alliance). The new Secretariat will integrate into the governance and operational structure of The Sport and Recreation Alliance and will run out of its London offices. The 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport will take place in Birmingham, adding to the city’s exceptional portfolio of global sports events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Raewyn Lovett, IWG Co-Chair (New Zealand) said:

“The IWG Global Executive was extremely impressed by the clarity and depth of the U.K. Bid, in a competitive global field. It was ranked as “exceptional” and will now stand as a benchmark for all future bidders. The U.K. Bid Team has clearly worked very hard to dovetail ideas with the work of the current New Zealand Secretariat and the transition period over the next 14 months will ensure that the great work of IWG continues uninterrupted, something needed more than ever as COVID-19 continues to impact participation and leadership of women and girls in sport and physical activity the world over. The IWG Global Executive is thrilled to move forward with the U.K. and very excited about the future Secretariat period.”

Annamarie Phelps CBE, incoming IWG Co-Chair (United Kingdom) said:

“Following a comprehensive and competitive bidding process, we are excited to have been awarded the 2022-26 Secretariat, culminating in the 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Birmingham in 2026, and the opportunity to continue the excellent work of the New Zealand Secretariat.

The UK bid focused on the chance to ‘share the change’ with a focus on inclusivity, learning and sustainability in the post-pandemic world. We wouldn’t have been able to submit such an exceptional bid without the support and commitment of a large number of organisations, supporters and partners from across the UK sports landscape who share in this vision.

We look forward to working with them, the New Zealand Secretariat and the IWG Global Executive over the coming months as we prepare to build on the wonderful legacy already created by those nations who have held this position before and contribute to a world where women and girls play a full and equitable part at every level.”

This U.K. hosting will follow a successful IWG quadrennial period in Aotearoa New Zealand, which will culminate with the delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Auckland and Online next May. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the event has transformed into a physical-digital hybrid for the first time in IWG history, and its programming is being designed by a 150-strong team of international experts. This will open up the conversation to many thousands, worldwide. Registrations will open in August, with programming announcements coming shortly.

Over the past nearly three years, IWG New Zealand has been working to support and grow a global ‘Community of Action’, along the journey toward and beyond the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport. This was announced through the launch of its “Change Inspires Change” storytelling campaign in 2020, which focuses on sharing practical ideas to inspire change. This will be supported through the launch of the IWG Insight Hub in September 2021, an interactive online Hub destined to become home to the world’s best case studies, insights and toolkits to inspire change.

Rachel Froggatt, IWG Secretary General for New Zealand 2018 – 2022 said:

“We were thrilled to see the extent to which the U.K. Bid Team had considered ways to grow and develop the global work that Aotearoa New Zealand has been undertaking over the past few years, as well as the ways it intends to lead and support the agenda of the IWG Global Executive. We congratulate the IWG Global Executive on their choice of the U.K. as the next host and we’re excited about partnering with them through the transition. Their support for our delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in May will be invaluable.”

Responsibilities within each IWG quadrennial period include:

  • Development, management and implementation of the quadrennial IWG Strategic Plan, the foundation document for all IWG work internationally
  • Design and delivery of the IWG World Conference – the world’s largest gathering of those engaged or interested in accelerating gender equity and equality in sport and physical activity
  • Promoting and monitoring the IWG Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration and adding value to the work of the global Signatories – currently nearing 600 organisations
  • Development and implementation of IWG Global Programmes, including the pending IWG Insight Hub and Advocacy Campaigns
  • Relationship management with global governmental/non-governmental agencies and organisations (Ie. UN Women, UNESCO, WHO)
  • Responsibility for management of all IWG external and internal affairs, globally
  • Day-to-day support for the IWG Global Executive

Click here for more information about the IWG New Zealand Secretariat 2018 – 2022.


About Sport and Recreation Alliance U.K.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance believes that the power of sport and recreation can change lives and bring communities together. Together with over 300 members and in partnership with the wider sector, we make the most of opportunities and tackle the areas that provide a challenge.

We deliver advice, support and guidance to our members and the sector, who represent traditional governing bodies of games and sport, active partnerships, outdoor recreation, water pursuits, and movement and dance exercise.

As the voice of the sector, we work with Government, policymakers and the media to make sure grassroots sport and recreation grows and thrives. Having an active nation is important as it delivers huge benefits to society and the millions of participants, volunteers, staff and spectators.

For more information about Sport and Recreation Alliance, please contact Alex Sexton on +44 (0) 207 976 3918, or asexton@sportandrecreation.org.uk 




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