ITF Press Release, March 2, 2021
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has today announced a new partnership with iSPORTCONNECT to bring the sports industry a one-off global forum, ‘Level the Playing Field’, on Monday 12 April. Forming part of the ITF’s Advantage All gender equality strategy, the event will be hosted by Catherine Whitaker and will include a live interview with special guest Billie Jean King.
The ITF’s Advantage All gender equality strategy was created to further tennis as an equal advantage sport where everyone is provided the same advantage and opportunity, both on and off the court. Tennis has been a pioneer in women’s equality and inclusion since the 1970s. Supported by the Foundation for Global Sports Development, Advantage All aims to empower women to take leadership positions in all areas of the sport, maintain balanced participation, raise the commercial appeal of the women’s game, grow awareness and manage the media image of women’s tennis and create a culture that includes and inspires all.
The event will bring together influential and inspirational individuals from sport and business to debate and advance gender equality through proactive, solution focused discussion..
ITF President David Haggerty said “A key pillar of the ITF’s Advantage All strategy is to empower women, on and off the court. We want to challenge perceptions, lead cultural change and ensure we identify and eliminate the existing barriers in the system that currently hold many women back from reaching their full potential. iSPORTCONNECT will be an ideal partner to deliver this event as we share a common vision. Together, we want to inspire and influence not only those in tennis but in other sports and wider industry as well.”
The event will open with a live interview with Billie Jean King in conversation with Catherine Whitaker, the global forum host, followed by two panel sessions featuring athletes as well as leaders from the worlds of sport and business. The first panel session will focus on challenging the status quo, overcoming hidden barriers and how to increase the number of women in leadership positions within sports administration. The second panel will focus on unique new global research into the portrayal, perception and representation of sports women across the media and social media. The event will also explore the important role that men play to champion women in sport with insight into best practice and stories of positive change.
iSPORTCONNECT Founder and CEO Sree Varma said of the announcement: “I think it’s absolutely terrific that we’re going to be able to provide this event for the industry alongside the ITF who I know from my long experience of working alongside them will be wonderful partners.
“Sport does not need any of us to explain that women and girls, as well as other groups of people across the board of diversity, are still at a disadvantage on many occasions when it comes to working and participating in sport, so I’m extremely pleased we’re joining forces with a great organisation who are really trying to make a difference.”