Reception to celebrate the UK hosting the IWG held ahead of International Women’s Day

Lisa IWG 4 ()

More than 80 guests gathered at Guildhall on Friday to celebrate the International Working Group on Women and Sport returning to the UK later this year.

The event welcomed influential figures from across the sporting world, including Bulgarian gymnast, Yoana Yankova, Sport England CEO, Tim Hollingsworth and World Netball President, Liz Nicholl CBE. 

Guests enjoyed networking at the City of London venue before listening to a series of speeches which detailed the UK’s bid journey, its plans for the next four years and how everyone can play their part in inspiring further change and progress.

The celebration was held just a few days before International Women’s Day which takes place on 8 March and is aiming to break the bias, helping to forge an inclusive world. Find out more about the campaign.

In a video played at the event, Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston said, “As Minister for Sport, I’m absolutely committed to supporting women’s sport at every opportunity, pushing for greater participation, employment, commercial opportunities and visibility in the media.

“The UK has a strong history of empowering women and girls through sport, and we have much to be proud of in this area. The IWG is a great opportunity not only to share the fantastic work that we’re doing but to learn from other countries too.

“This is at the heart of the UK’s IWG bid. To be inclusive of all cultures and identities, commit to mutual learning and operate to progress sport for women and girls in a way that is sustainable for the sport system and future generations.”

Current Co-Chair of the IWG, Raewyn Lovett, also joined the celebration virtually and added: “I want to reiterate and applaud the clarity and depth of the UK bid and particularly commend the stakeholder support and government investment secured.

“I know the IWG is no stranger to the UK, getting started in Brighton 30 years ago and it is so fitting that the IWG returns home for its 30th anniversary.

“Thank you to everyone in the room – ambassadors, campaigners, volunteers and advocates - for throwing your weight behind this important cause.

“Your visible support and presence will enable the UK Secretariat to achieve more for gender equity and equality in sport and physical activity as well as strengthen the progress made by previous secretariats – and with all the challenges facing the world, we need that support and visibility more than ever.”

Sport and Recreation Alliance CEO, Lisa Wainwright MBE also took a moment to praise the widespread collaboration and advocacy displayed by so many. She said: “We received an unbelievable amount of support, both nationally and internationally, during our bid process and it was fantastic to see so many of the people behind that join us for the occasion.

“With International Women’s Day just around the corner, it was great to get together in person to celebrate women’s achievement and explore the ways in which greater collaboration can advance sport for women globally.

“I’d like to thank the IWG Council and New Zealand Secretariat for their backing and wish them all the best for the upcoming Conference.”

Registrations for the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport will re-launch shortly. Visit for all the latest updates.