Photo: UNDP Türkiye

UNDP Turkey announced National Volleyballer Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Giovanni Guidetti as “Gender Equality Advocates”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey collaborates with leading successful personalities in the society to assume advocacy for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to encourage individuals and institutions to take action on important matters that affect the world and humanity.

UNDP Turkey identified stars from women’s volleyball for advocating “Gender Equality”, the fifth of Sustainable Development Goals. By an online ceremony over Zoom with press presence, National Volleyballer Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and her spouse Mr. Giovanni Guidetti, Head Coach of Women’s National Volleyball Team, were designated “UNDP Turkey Gender Equality Advocates” who, on top of their stellar success in sports, engaged in social good efforts for education of girls in the most disadvantaged regions of Turkey.

UNDP Turkey’s Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Mert Fırat moderated the press conference participated by Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative, Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and Mr. Giovanni Guidetti.

Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative, said: “I have the pleasure to appoint Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and Mr. Giovanni Guidetti as Gender Equality Advocates of United Nations Development Programme in Turkey. All of you know Guidetti Family with their outstanding volleyball career, but let me tell you that our interest in appointing them as Gender Equality Advocates was inspired by their personal story in women sports, empowering women and the commitment they have demonstrated to using their talents to benefit girls across Turkey. I am sure that Guidetti Family and UNDP will come together and contribute greatly to the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly highlighting the goal #5: Gender Equality. With these appointments, UNDP aims at mobilizing its local, regional and global partners to take action to strengthen gender equality in all segments of society and make further progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Giovanni Guidetti, Head Coach of Women’s National Volleyball Team, said: “Sports have great potential to empower girls. Through sports, women challenge the misconception that they are weak or incapable. There are barriers unfortunately in the world to girls’ equal access to sports. Visible and invisible barriers. Girls receive messages from family members and society that sports are not for girls, but for boys. Volleyball is a perfect example where women can display full potential in the absence of gender discrimination in sports. I am lucky that volleyball is a discipline with the highest pay-off to women, and a proud member of a club founded to promote women’s empowerment. That said, women coaches are a key factor to girls’ involvement in sports. Even in volleyball, we do not have a sufficient number of women head coaches. This is the world we live in. Everything you do can make a difference. Never doubt that a considerate, motivated small group can change the world. With this firm belief, we have started the project Tomorrow’s Sultans (Yarının Sultanları) appreciated by the United Nations Development Programme. I am greatly honoured to be a Gender Equality Advocate and I promise I will do my best to tear down all the barriers standing in girls’ path in volleyball.

National Volleyballer Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti said: “Two years ago, we went to Bitlis to teach girls of 15 to 16 years of age. They were highly enthusiastic, excited and happy throughout the day. When it was time to part, one of them said ‘I wish you did not come here. The more I got to know you, the more I wished to become an athlete like you. But we cannot get out to the street, let alone play volleyball.’ There and then I realised that the biggest barrier before girls was gender inequality. I further realised that it was not enough to inspire them, have them dreams, encourage them. Then I worked to do something, be it little, every day for that. We saw that small but continuous steps would have inconceivably huge impact. It is a great honour for me that the United Nations Development Programme selected me as a Gender Equality Advocate. Through this cooperation, we will achieve more and better in shorter time. I wholeheartedly believe in this, and am ready to give all I can.”

Click here for a complete record of the press conference.

(https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1FX_FgHEGWn6sfBRu2EbPh_dodE_ipd0_)

For more information: Faik Uyanık, UNDP Turkey Communications Officer, faik.uyanik@undp.org

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