20 Member All Women’s Officiating team worked at NECC ITF 40K Tennis Championships

20 Member All Women's Officiating team worked at NECC ITF 40K Tennis Championships

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in Tennis in India that a 20-member All Women’s Officiating team worked at the NECC ITF 40K Tennis Championships event that was being held at the Deccan Gymkhana courts, from 23rd to 29th January 2023 in Pune.

The All Women’s led by Asia’s Gold Badge Referee Sheetal Iyer, who officiated her 100th plus ITF event had all women’s Chair Umpires, Chief of Officials and Lines Umpires, Players Desk, Physios worked during that week under the ITF Advantage All Initiative.

“it has been in our minds for a long time, but we are happy that finally, we were able to initiate this coinciding with India’s 75th year of Independence celebrations and our Republic Day celebrations. I would like to thank the ITF, AITA, MSLTA and Deccan Gymkhana for agreeing with the proposal and initiating this programme jointly” said Sunder Iyer Hon Sec MSLTA and Jt Secretary of AITA, who was the moving force behind this programme alongside Nitin Kannamwar ITF Regional Officiating Officer Asia.

The Tennis Secretary of Deccan Gymkhana, Ashwin Girme added that, “it is a proud moment for the Deccan Gymkhana club having a rich sports history and tennis legacy of over 100 years to host such a novel initiative at the upgraded version of the 22nd NECC ITF 40K Tennis championships, we are happy to be a part of this history and record which is being set”

A statement from ITF on the Advantage of all Initiative, states, Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Despite women and girls representing half of the world’s population, gender inequality persists globally, creating barriers to social and economic progress. Women face an opportunity gap that leaves them underrepresented in key leadership and decision-making roles. At the ITF, we have risen to this challenge and fully embrace the goals of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with a firm commitment to act.

They aim to govern a sport where everyone is given the same advantage off the court. In August 2018, the ITF formally announced its ongoing commitment to increasing the number of women on and off the court with the launch of its Gender Equality Strategy called Advantage All. The ITF aims to achieve a ratio of 40%/60% female/male officials attending white-level courses and conducting various workshops by 2024. It is developing numerous awareness campaigns to highlight the opportunities for women to become more involved in the sport and off the court.

The ITF Pune 40k was very special and unique on its own as it supports building a culture to create an Equal Advantage All environment by encouraging the maximum female workforce ever allocated at any ITF Tennis Tournament in India. The week helped in generating equal opportunities. The female officials got reinforced through awareness, training and learning through various workshops and sessions.

It acted as a platform to highlight challenges as female officials and will foster a culture that embraces more women in officiating. The success of the Advantage All program can only be achieved by working collectively to develop and implement the right local gender equality strategy that works for individuals. Achieving gender equality in sports requires the commitment of everyone. Together support the building of equal gender diversity in every walk of life.

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