July 05, 2019

Equal Playing Field: The Equality Summit 2019

July 05, 2019 Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour • 20 Quai du Dr Gailleton 8.30am registration LyonFrance  69002 View Map Organized by Equal Playing Field, Inc.

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About this event

July 05, 2019

Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

20 Quai du Dr Gailleton 8.30am registration LyonFrance  69002
View Map

On July 5 2019, football’s most influential leaders will gather in Lyon ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final to discuss the most pressing issues for women in football and advance creative solutions. 

This one-day summit will convene thought-leaders, policy-makers, players and programme specialists to share new thinking on old problems. By placing high-level industry knowledge, lived experience and a passion for progress in the same room, the Equality Summit will tackle the difficult and neglected topics facing women in football and seek to generate solutions that will inspire and equip change makers around the world to accelerate the transition to gender equality. 

Participants are expected to contribute fully to the discussions and debates in a constructive, collaborative environment. 

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Gigi Alford - Head of Sport and Human Rights, World Players Association and Sport & Rights Alliance
  • Vero Boquete - Former Spain Women’s National Team Captain; Professional Football Player, Utah Royals FC
  • Georgie Bruinvels - Sports and Exercise Physiologist and Research Scientist, Orreco 
  • Kirsty Burrows - Consultant, IOC; Managing Director, Sports Rights Solutions S.L
  • Mayi Cruz-Blanco - Global Head of Athlete Programmes, Adecco
  • Dr. Donna de Haan - Assistant Professor at Utrecht University and the Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands
  • Donna de Varona - Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Swimming; Member, IOC Women and Sport Commission; Sportscaster
  • Moya Dodd - Former Australia Women's National Team Vice Captain; Co-Founder, Football Women International
  • Caitlin Fisher - Global Policy Officer, FIFPro 
  • Julie Foudy - Former U.S. Women's National Team Captain; ESPN Analyst
  • Dr. Celeste Geertsema - Sport & Exercise Physician, FIFA Medical Center of Excellence, Aspetar
  • Sunil Gulati - Member, FIFA Council; Michael K. Dakolias Senior Lecturer, Columbia University
  • Tatjana Haenni - Head of Women's Football, Swiss FA
  • Ashleigh Huffman - Global Director of Gender Equality, Athletes for Hope
  • Mary Harvey - CEO, Center for Sport and Human Rights
  • Sally Horrox - Managing Director, YSport
  • HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein - Founder, AFDP Global; Jordan FA President 
  • James Johnson - SVP of External Affairs, City Football Group
  • Ebru Koksal - Chair, Women in Football
  • Kristine Lilly - Former U.S. Women’s National Team Player
  • Kelly Lindsey - Head of Women's Football, CONIFA; Head Coach, Afghanistan Women's National Team
  • Maggie Murphy - Co-Organizer and Director of Communications, Equal Playing Field
  • Kely Nascimento-DeLuca - Director/producer Warriors of a Beautiful Game, Founder/President of the Nascimento Foundation
  • Dr. Leanne Norman - Reader in Sport Coaching, Leeds Beckett University
  • Ann Odong - Women's Football Media Expert
  • Tariq Panja, Sports Reporter for The New York Times
  • Vera Pauw - International Football Coach and FIFA Instructor
  • Ed Ramsden - Director, Lewes FC
  • Becca Roux - Executive Director, USWNT Players Association
  • Yasmeen Shabsough - Former Jordan Women's National Team Player
  • Laura Youngson - Co-Founder, Equal Playing Field; Co-Founder, Ida Sports
  • Amanda Vandervort - Fan Engagement & Marketing Expert
  • Danielle Warby - Writer, Public Speaker, and Women’s Sports Advocate
  • Minky Worden - Director of Global Initiatives, Human Rights Watch
  • Suzy Wrack - Women's Football and Women’s Sport Writer, The Guardian

Event details and schedule




KEYNOTE | Facing challenges Head-On: The Battle for Gender Equality

PANEL | Rise Up: The Need for Women Coaches

Women coaches are astonishingly successful. 92% of the world's major women's tournaments since 2000 - FIFA Women’s World Cups, Olympics, and UEFA Women’s European Championships - have been won by female-coached teams. So why are women coaches not more sought-after and recognised? New research will be presented on the massive gender gap in coaching, and panelists will discuss ways to navigate institutional barriers and discrimination that impede hiring and retention, while proposing new strategies to capitalise on success.

PANEL | Creating Safe Spaces: Rebuilding the System to End Abuse

Football's #metoo is now a reality. While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, there are women and girls in football who continue to suffer discrimination, harrassment and abuse. Panelists will discuss the recent crisis in the Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team, and the systems and structures that permit physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to exist. We’ll delve into the systemic changes, structures, and education needed to protect players, coaches, staff, and referees regarding this pervasive and timely issue.

12pm - LUNCH


As an entree into the breakout sessions, experts will present on timely topics in the women’s sports landscape, offering attendees insight into critical thought-leadership designed to shape future policy.


Within the breakout sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to engage more deeply with the topics presented, providing a space to dialogue and brainstorm new solutions to old problems.

Women in Football Media

Interest in women's football is growing exponentially, yet it only makes up a fraction of the story-telling on television, online and across social media. What’s more, women in all areas of media, from decision-makers to on-air talent, are drastically under-represented. We'll look at how women are portrayed in the media, the nuances of language and choice of images, how the narrative is evolving, new media opportunities available to shape and share the conversation, and what the impact having more females in the industry could mean for the future of women’s soccer as a whole. 

Moving Female Physiology Mainstream

Are women really all that different from men when it comes to sports performance and injuries? The dearth of data and information available on female athletes has made this question difficult to answer. We’ll share new and impactful information regarding female genetics and physiology that’s shedding a new light on female athletes, and opening the door to medical innovations in the women’s game.

Rights-Based Approach to Football

Football has made considerable progress in embedding human rights as part of the FIFA reforms - in its statutes, in its policies, and even into its committee structure through a Human Rights Advisory Board. With an increasing focus on rights for athletes and others in sport, we’ll consider the shortfalls, and required structures and remedies, to bring these commitments to life.

PANEL | The Future of the Game: Professionalization and Commercialization

The women's game has grown in participation, but its commercial side isn’t keeping pace. What will attract investor confidence in women's football and overcome the perception of women as a "cost burden" on the men's game? Hear from those who have invested in growing the game financially, strategically, and against the odds to share their lessons learned and future plans in support of women’s football. We will address key motivations behind sponsor investment, the importance of men’s football clubs in women’s growth, the pitfalls that cause leagues to collapse, the trajectory and growth of the game, and the best methods to finance and support grassroots efforts.

PANEL | A Seat at the Table: Delivering More Decision-Makers

Panelists will deliver a hard-hitting assessment of where we really stand regarding women in governance, and address tangible ways to increase more women in decision-making roles from grassroots football to international federations and governing bodies. From FIFA gender equality reforms, to quotas, to gender audits, to pulling your own seat up at the table, we’ll look at what works, what doesn’t, and new ways of thinking about the future. 



Registration fee is 119 EURO and includes…

  • Coffee breaks and lunch 
  • Access to four thematic sessions, keynote addresses from leading figures in football and break-out sessions.
  • Goody bag 
  • Evening drinks and networking reception hosted by ESPNW, 6pm-8pm, at a rooftop at Maison No. Hotel Lyon  Address: 11 Rue du Bât d'Argent, 69001 Lyon, France


Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

20 Quai du Dr Gailleton, 69002 Lyon, France

Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour • 20 Quai du Dr Gailleton 8.30am registration LyonFrance  69002 Get Directions

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