#FridayFocus – Italian Hockey takes a lead on Gender Balance

Posted On 26th July 2019


Greatly inspired by the speakers of  EHFL Forum in Bruxelles,  Anna Puglia and Sabina Zampetti proposed to the President of the Italian Hockey Federation IHF (Sergio Mignardi) and Board to organise a similar Forum for the Italian Hockey Women.

The proposal was accepted and supported!!!

The image (above) was chosen to represent Italian hockey women was a picture of the Italian Hockey  Team, bronze medal in Valencia.

The Forum was held on Saturday of the week-end fixed for the annual end-of-the-season event “Super Coppa” when the top two women and men teams play a National Final match, five Youth Selections of the best players of the regional Hockey Academies play a final contest and top players of the year receive awards.

Because of this, full-time participants to the Forum, free from other activities were not many  (20), but almost as many came for a part of the Forum as soon as they could. Other Women heard about the Forum and asked to get involved in the future.

The IHFLD Forum list now comprises … 37 women from 10 different Italian regions!!!

Introduced and moderated by Sabina and commented by Anna the speakers talked about their experience as leaders in sport.

Francesca Vici (General Secretary of IHF and CONI Committee of Equal Opportunities)  shared data about the presence of women in the world of sport and explained how difficult it has been to get Gender Balance in Sport in Italy. Involved in this Committee which supports women, she gave a vivid picture of the present situation in Italian sport, what problems arise and how ITA Sport has been trying to improve women’s presence in leading roles. Women often are not supported. Most important she gave numbers of the current situation in the Italian hockey Federation.

Martina Marchiori (Regional Delegate of IHF in Trentino-Alto Adige Region and Member Regional Olympic Committee) is one of the founders of the Women’s Association “Sport Management Leadership ”. She told about her personal and professional experience and how much, being so involved in sport management and divulgating the idea of women leadership,  has helped her to face personal health problems.

Stefania Lella (Working at the  C.O.N.I., Founder of  Donn@sport Association)  has a working career in sport and a passion for hockey. Manager of hockey teams, EHF official for some years, she goes to the hockey pitch whenever she can. Already in 2009 she organised with other leading sportswomen the Forum “Donne di Sport” repeated in 2013, and, as there was so much to do, they decided to split into groups working on four different topics.  Many goals have been achieved, but there is still a lot to do.

Caterina Milanesio (CEO and owner of a Construction Company, volunteer Coordinator of Italian Women Masters) former player, she also was President of the men Club Hockey Bra. She succeeded in leading the club from B division to A division. A few years ago she decided to start playing again with the masters and used her interpersonal and managing competencies to increase the number of players and teams in National and International events.  A group of participating women Masters were involved in her presentation demonstrating how  “ working together among women as a team” is the right way.

Anna Grazia Puglia (Technical Delegate for Italy and EHF, Member of the Italian Rules Committee and of EHF Appointment Committee) has been in hockey since 1966 starting one of the first women team in Italy. Player, coach, manager, umpire, technical delegate she showed a picture with her family (men and women), all in hockey clothing of the Victorian period, to explain how you can go forward with the support of a family and how both in national and international hockey we can work as a family. She gave a picture of how FIH, EHF and IHF work on educating and improving levels of players, coaches, officials and managers, how to start a career in officiating and how challenging it is becoming a manager.

Sergio Mignardi (President of the Italian Hockey Federation), who came in to explain the difficulties to generally keep women in sport and Hockey in Italy, and asked the present hockey women to give their support in terms of projects, proposals and involvement to overcome this problem and increase numbers. He explained that the Italian Federation is working hard on education programmes for any technical sector because it is important to step forward and to propose a captivating image of Italian Hockey.

Elvira de Blasiis (Medical Officer of the Italian Hockey Federation, and one of the few Female Medical Doctors in the Italian Federation for Sport MD’s) talked about managing the Medical Staff involved with all National Teams and sometimes her difficulty to get respected as Medical Director in this sector.

Giulia della Motta, (IHF Board Member as representative of athletes) Talked about her experience as Team manager of the National Women’s Team and the combination with her working career as the owner of a Street Food Company and Hotel Manager. Not much was said about her experience as a board member. Then together with Sabina the importance of Communication was explained and Sabina talked about the EHF Equally Amazing project and upcoming Charter.

Sabina Zampetti (Technical Delegate for Italy and EHF and Member of EHF Marketing and Communication Committee, candidate for the EHF Board) talked about her youth hockey player career and her leadership story. After having moved to Italy and played for many years for the Italian National Team, being able to speak many foreign languages gave her the opportunity to work for EHF/FIH Tournaments held in Italy.  She came in the IHF Board in 2002 when it became mandatory to have a representative of Women Athletes. Professionally, she built a successful career as free-lance in event organizing or production projects and, being temporary jobs, she thinks she was lucky as she had and has time to dedicate to hockey. She told that having no children,  dedicating to hockey was her “Baby”.  After her personal outline, she showed a general Leadership development plan with the use of coaching techniques.

Marco Carboni ( working in the IHF offices and coach) briefly explained about his working on  ParaHockey development and his experience with the Italian Para Hockey Team ( gold medal)  A meaningful and motivating video of the last INAS games was shown.

Anna and Sabina concluded with some questions and proposals to the audience for a future action plan.

….to be continued!!

Tom Pedersen-Smith, EHF Development and Education Manager commended Italian Hockey for its honest appraisal of the place of women in sport in Italy and “It’s not always easy to look in the mirror and say we can do better, so I am really proud of the Italian Hockey Federation for taking the important step of asking themselves how they can get more balance in their decision making. The EHF Charter that will be launched on 16th August at our General Assembly will be the framework for all our National Associations to start to have these important conversations. We look forward to hearing about the outcomes from this forum and would like to extend our thanks to Sergio, Anna and Saby for showing great leadership on this.”

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