UNESCO and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the world’s leading global sport for women, announced in 2006 a landmark global partnership to further gender equality and promote women’s leadership in all spheres of society. The social responsibility program marks a new level of commitment by the Tour and players to raise awareness of gender equality issues and advance opportunities for women.
The program represents the first time that UNESCO, the only organization of the UN system with a mandate for education, science and culture which are most critical for laying the grounds for gender equality, is partnering with a professional sports league for this objective. UNESCO is committed to mainstreaming gender equality considerations in all its programs, globally and at the country level.Key planned elements of the program include (i) a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour/UNESCO Fund for women and leadership, which will be endowed initially with approximately €200,000 as seed funding with the goal of reaching a much higher figure through planned additional fundraising activities, (ii) a “Promoter of Gender Equality” player program, which will involve players at both a global and national level in awareness raising activities as well as direct involvement in specific gender equality and women’s leadership programs throughout the world, (iii) mentoring, scholarship and fellowship programs are designed to create opportunities and the environment for women and girls to succeed in all walks of life and (iv) usage of existing UNESCO and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, galas and conferences as awareness and fundraising platforms. Additionally, the Sony Ericsson Championships promoters and the city of Madrid will support the program through marketing, awareness and fundraising activities. Advertising to raise awareness of gender equality issues is also planned.