IWG Announces New Fund To Support Female Leaders In Sport

November 12, 2023

The International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport has today launched the Anita White Fund (AWF) to support female leaders in sport around the world, marking the first time financial support has been offered to advance gender equality by the IWG in its 29-year history. 

A legacy of the Anita White Foundation, the AWF has been established to honour Dr Anita White OBE and Cath Sweet – two leading figures in the women and sport movement who collaborated on a number of international sport development projects.   

The AWF consists of two sets of awards to reflect Anita and Cath’s respective fields of expertise, with each one granting amounts of up to £2000 per successful applicant in one funding cycle.  

  • The Anita White Catalyst Grant has been made available to enable women who have successfully completed leadership programmes to advance the women and sport movement in their countries, regions or organisations. This fund is to honour Dr Anita White’s leadership of the international women and sport movement and her role in establishing the IWG.
  • The Cath Sweet Award supports women who wish to deliver programmes that promote social inclusion through sport and will prioritise activities with a focus on disability. This fund is supported by UK Sport in memory of Cath and her work to use sport to deliver positive social impact around the world.
White and blue graphic. On the the right, the Anita White Fund Logo. On the left, a quote from Dr Anita White OBE “I am so encouraged by the work that has been undertaken by women leaders of sport around the world. We know from the success of the Anita White Foundation grants that have been awarded over the last seven years how important it is to support individuals with initiatives that can have a significant impact from relatively small investment.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Secretary General of the IWG, said: “I am thrilled we have been able to create this fund which will help make an impact in supporting women working in sport. 

“A huge thank you to the Anita White Foundation, Cath Sweet’s family and UK Sport for this opportunity, and to Professor Elizabeth Pike from the University of Hertfordshire for administering the awards. The IWG has a clear vision of sport and physical activity contributing to a world where women and girls thrive, and being able to offer funding is a tangible step in how we are working towards this.” 

Dr Anita White OBE said: “I am so encouraged by the work that has been undertaken by women leaders of sport around the world. We know from the success of the Anita White Foundation grants that have been awarded over the last seven years how important it is to support individuals with initiatives that can have a significant impact from relatively small investment.”  

Mike Sweet said: “Cath’s family and I are all really happy that the Cath Sweet Award is now open for applications and we fully support this initiative. Cath recognised the importance of sport and how it generated positive impacts for all, specifically equality and empowering all women and girls. She cared deeply about inclusion and creating leadership pathways for marginalised groups. It’s fantastic this award is available to help continue this important work and I’d like to thank UK Sport and the IWG for their support.

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