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Hi <<First Name>>,

We hope this newsletter finds you in good health.
 
First off, we would like to share a piece of good news with you: There are still slots open in our Promoter campaign! We want to support 100 exclusive, local Promoters that want to bring forward female empowerment and gender equality through table tennis. If you have not applied yet, then do it now! Use this unique chance to receive additional help to promote World Table Tennis Day (WTTD) 2021 – the Promoter package includes a clothing kit, an ITTF Foundation certificate and 250 € for the expenditures. There is one slot per country/independent region, so be quick to save yourself and your community the extra support for your WTTD 2021 promotion!
 
To everyone who has organised a WTTD event in the past: Use your experience and let us help you out to cover some of your expenditures to make your event more impressive!
To everyone who wants to organise a WTTD event for the first time: Go ahead and do it! We can help you by guiding you in the lead-up to April 6, providing tools and tips in this newsletter, in addition to some extra help in form of the Promoter package.
 

So, what are you waiting for? Get more information on our website or fill out the application straight away – we look forward to receiving it!
With our theme of #FEMpowerment for the upcoming WTTD, we aim to do our part and contribute to getting closer to achieving SDG 5: Gender equality and women’s empowerment – and we would like to help and inspire you to join us in this cause! But what can YOU do to make a change? What are the barriers to overcome? And why did we choose this theme for the next WTTD? It’s no racket science, keep reading to find out more.

The problem
Gender inequality is omnipresent. It ranges from micro-machismo and the growing differences in pay gaps to the gross violation of the fundamental rights of women and girls. These structures are often deeply rooted in society and further supported in the legislation. Did you know, for example, that only 67 countries have laws against gender discrimination in the hiring process? And husbands can still legally prevent their wives from working in 18 countries. Making changes and building new foundations requires legal recognition and implementation, it requires education, access to information, individual awareness and local solutions. Some of them are harder to fulfil than others. But every small gesture – such as a WTTD 2021 event focussing on #FEMpowerment –, every advancement and decision that fosters mutual understanding is important and helpful. You are not alone – we all struggle with breaking the vicious circles. 
How can it be countered?
Patriarchy, the lack of women in positions of power, sexism, racism, economic inequality, lack of respect for caregiving – these are just a few of the barriers women face today and that hinders them from developing their full potential, even in the world of table tennis. And they may seem impossible to overcome because they have been established for a long time and are often deeply rooted. These are barriers that cannot be torn down by an individual and not from one moment to another. But one step at a time. Something each of us can do is raise awareness, shine light on these issues and take action – in whatever form that may be. So why not use the excellent opportunity of dedicating your event for the WTTD 2021 to female empowerment?
 
Tip: Think of single-parents when organising your event, too – this includes single-mothers as well as single-fathers. Create an area for the children, like a table tennis “day care” or entertain them with a junior-tournament or a ball-balance-parkour. This way, the parents also get the chance to fully participate in your activities or can focus on themselves and relax for a bit.
 
Is there gender-bias in sports?
Speaking about sports in general, we still have many male-dominated, or rather male-represented sports. For instance, it was once assumed that football, or rugby or golf, was only for men. The general conception was that women simply could not perform as well in sports as men. Luckily, women and girls are more visible and vocal today than at any point in history. We now understand that men can engage in sports “traditionally” attributed to women, and women can do the sports that men used to do. On the field, in the ring, or behind the ping pong table: female athletes show what can be gained through sport. Thanks to their experiences, to their presence and performance, women and girls in sports could start to challenge the arguments of gender inequality.
What does the situation look like in table tennis?
Table tennis is somewhat of a special case. Unlike most sports, it was not “created” in favour of one sex. You don’t need to have immense muscle masses or need to be a giant to shoot baskets. Table tennis is such a high skilled sport that physical appearance and differences don’t decide from the start who is going to win the match. It offers the perfect ground to plant the seeds for a gender-equal sport. Young table tennis players look up to Chen Meng as well as Timo Boll. This is also displayed in the statistics for elite table tennis players: in the WTTC 2019 and WJTTC 2019, there was an overall equal participation quote of male and female players. And for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, there was even a majority of women planned as table tennis referees and umpires! The role of the coaches, however, still seems to be male dominated‑: in the WJTTC 2019, 90 % of the coaches were men. Although we don’t have reliable statistics for players on a grassroots level, we have generally witnessed a higher male participation than female in our many years of experience.
 
What does that mean for us?
It is crucial that we make these opportunities table tennis has to offer accessible to boys and girls of all walks of life, of all classes and all backgrounds. Equal and diverse representation in sports breaks barriers and challenges discriminatory stereotypes. Women and girl athletes make an unquestioned contribution to gender equality.
Tip: For your WTTD event 2021, why not host a Bring-a-Friend-event? Invite your players to celebrate the WTTD 2021 by bringing along a friend, sister, (grand)mother, or aunt? Bring everybody to the table, no matter which gender and raise awareness for gender equality!
 
Refuse to lose, spin to win
There is still much left to do before we achieve full inclusion and can guarantee equality everywhere. So, let's get on with it! Table tennis is already on the right track on the road to gender equality, but it still needs another push. And we are approaching this goal by ensuring that women and girls are also involved and empowered. And what better way to do this than with the next WTTD?
 
Have you registered your event yet for the 2021 edition? Click here to fill out the registration form. It is never too early to start planning! And don’t forget to check out our WTTD 2021 Promoter campaign!
Keep staying positive and testing negative!

The team of the World Table Tennis Day wishes you a happy organising. Please feel free to contact us in case of questions, comments or remarks. We will be happy to read you: april6@foundation.ittf.com.
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