All 41 PASO NOCs participated in the  Forum for Women Leaders in Sport in the Americas ©IOC

Over 100 representatives from across the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) have participated in a forum for Women Leaders in Sport in Lima.

The event, co-organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the Peruvian capital, was designed to celebrate and boost the role that female sports administrators play across the region.

It was opened by speakers including Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP) President José Quiñones and Patricia Juarez, the acting Mayor of Lima.

Participants spanning all 41 PASO members then went through "intensive coaching and training combined with discussions and mentoring sessions". 

“Our strategy is to make sure women’s voices are heard and increase their role as leaders and advocates of change,” said Grenada's PASO Executive Board member Veda Bruno-Victor.

“Sport is a way to achieve this.

“Besides offering role models, sport is an efficient platform to provide leadership capabilities. 

"Strength, perseverance, commitment, team spirit, solidarity and respect are all essential values in sport and in seeking gender equality. 

"The potential of sport to contribute to social, economic and political empowerment of women is clear. 

"It is the moment to act.”   

Improving female participation has been cited as a major aim of PASO and other sporting bodies ©PASO
Improving female participation has been cited as a major aim of PASO and other sporting bodies ©PASO

Both male and female participants talked about the need for "public policies; for governance reforms within sports organisations; and for greater promotion of role models to serve as mentors to other women, and particularly young women". 

They "acknowledged and emphasised the need for collaboration at all levels in order to ensure that women have more possibilities to access leadership positions".

Male administrators must do more to promote female roles, they concluded.

An Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) constitutional change passed in 2014 stipulated that each of the five continental associations must have at least one female among their representatives.

PASO are duly represented by Mexico's Jimena Saldaña and Puerto Rico Olympic Committee President Sara Rosario Velez.

Another forum is now scheduled to take place on March 6 to 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day celebration.