GABORONE, Botswana – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the International Working Group (IWG) today announced that WBSC and 82 Baseball and Softball National Federations around the world (to date) have endorsed the IWG Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration on Women and Sport.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari signed the declaration alongside the IWG Co-Chairperson, Ms. Ruth Maphorisa, last week at the Gaborone International Convention Centre, which has since followed with 82 National Baseball/Softball Federations across six continents having become signatories in support of IWG’s movement.
“WBSC and our sport’s leaders around the world fully support the Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration and applaud the International Working Group on Women and Sport for their important work,” President Fraccari said. “WBSC considers the promotion and equal opportunity of girls and women in baseball and softball to be a duty and priority. Females represent a large part of our global community, but WBSC and our global movement remain doubly committed to making our sport even more inclusive and accessible to girls and women, and this includes in roles of leadership.”
“WBSC and baseball and softball represent one of the biggest gender-balanced, diverse movements in sports, so it’s a great honour and boost to have their support and commitment,” said IWG Co-Chairperson Maphorisa. “A growing global sport like baseball and softball, particularly with its youth and commercial appeal, can play a significant role in helping to shape a more female-inclusive sporting world.”
Breaking down barriers: Women in Baseball and Softball
Nearly half of the current estimated 65 million baseball and softball athletes around the world are female.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball league player signs first-ever million-dollar contract: Last year, 2008 Olympic softball star Monica Abbott (USA) was the first female athlete within a team sport to sign a million-dollar contract.
— ⚾ WBSC (@WBSC) May 6, 2016
Three women (23%) currently serve on 13-member WBSC Executive Board, including Secretary General Beng Choo Low (MAS), 2008 Olympian Maria Soto (VEN) and three-time Japanese Olympic Softball coach Taeko Utsugi. International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines set a target for at least 20% of decision-making positions to be occupied by women.
Japan’s first female director of the Baseball Federation of Japan, Hiroko Yamada, was elected at the WBSC Congress in Gaborone to serve on the WBSC Baseball Division Executive Board.
— NHK WORLD News (@NHKWORLD_News) October 14, 2017
There are 37 current female presidents and secretaries general leading national baseball and/or softball federations across six continents:
- Bahamas Baseball Association — Oria Maria Wood Knowles, Secretary General
- Bahamas Softball Federation — Daphne McKinney, Secretary General
- Belize Softball Federation — Tiffany Heusner, Secretary General
- Bolivia Baseball and Softball Federation — Mirtha Vasquez, Secretary General
- Botswana Softball Association — Gloria Gaosikelwe, Secretary General
- British Softball Federation – (2) Jenny Fromer, President; Stella Ackrell, Secretary General
- British Virgin Islands Softball Association – Bria Smith, Secretary General
- Cayman Islands Softball Association — Molly Ann Moore, President
- Chile Baseball and Softball Federation — Carolina Astudillo Ossandón, Secretary General
- Croatian Softball Association – Dijana Peric, Secretary General
- Denmark Softball Federation – (2) Henriette Gilhoj, President; Linda Ranlov, Secretary General
- Ecuador Baseball Federation – Lourdes Garay, President
- Fiji Islands Baseball & Softball Association – Surkafa Katafono, Secretary General
- Ghana Baseball and Softball Association – Christiana G. Doodo, Secretary General
- Hong Kong Softball Association — Heidi Ip Kit Ching, Secretary General
- Jamaica Softball Association — Marvalyn Campbell, Secretary General
- Lesotho Baseball and Softball Association – Bothobile Shebe, Secretary General
- Lithuania Softball Association – Diana Pupininkiene, President
- Peruvian Softball Federation — Vanessa Endo, President
- Portuguese Baseball and Softball Federation – Sandra Monteiro, President
- Puerto Rican Softball Federation — Lina E. Nazario, Secretary General
- Saipan Baseball League (Mariana Islands) — Rose Igitol, President
- San Marino Federation of Baseball Softball – Monia Magnani, Secretary General
- Senegal Baseball and Softball Federation – Madeleine Sarr, Secretary General
- Singapore Baseball and Softball Association — (2) Foo Pei, President; Sheng Thong Yin, Secretary General
- Softball South Africa – Cynthia Tsholo Nthuping, Secretary General
- Trinidad and Tobago Baseball Softball Association — Nicolle James, Secretary General
- Tunisian Baseball and Softball Federation – Ahlem Ganfaly, Secretary General
- Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation — Santana Rigby, Secretary General
- USA Baseball — Jenny Dalton-Hill, Secretary General
- United States Virgin Islands Softball Federation — Patricia Philipps Smith, Secretary General
- Venezuelan Baseball Federation – Aracelis Leon, President
- Venezuela Softball Federation – (2) Maria Soto, President; Milagros Hernandez, Secretary General
IWG will host the seventh edition of the World Conference on Women and Sport in Gaborone in May 2018.