Female voices within the Euroleague Basketball family have been and always will be a crucial part of our journey.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Euroleague Basketball asked a representative of each Turkish Airlines EuroLeague club speak about the challenges of working as women in the sports industry and about the women whom they most admire, among other subjects.

Euroleague Basketball is proud to reassert that gender equality forms a strong part of our commitment to supporting the communities where we operate.

By sharing the goals of the United Nations Generation Equality campaign, Euroleague Basketball continues to stand for reducing inequalities and, especially in these times of COVID-19, to honor those women around the world who sacrifice every day to care for the most vulnerable.

We thank all women for their inspirational service and wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day!

“I admire the women on our women’s basketball team. They fight every day for more recognition and equality in sport. They have as much training as the men but have to build up a second career at the same time and so study or work full-time.” ALBA Berlin, Sabrina Bernardo, Partner Management & Cooperations

“If we talk about breaking down the barriers for women in the sports industry, we need a cultural revolution and a well-raised generation. I’m hopeful thanks to the potential that Generation Z holds; they’re highly conscious about discrimination and ready to act against it.” Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Elif Magul, External Affairs Supervisor

“I admire women like Becky Hammon, the first woman who coached an NBA team during a regular season game. Or Liz Mills, who brought Kenya’s national basketball team to the AfroBasket finals after 18 years. I really hope these examples will be able to lead the way for many other girls and women who aspire to a career in the sports industry.” AX Armani Exchange Milan, Asia De Piccoli, Marketing & Sponsorship Specialist

“I’m working for a club where half of the management structure is female and the atmosphere is great. The club encourages equality between all and gives an equal chance to all, which in my opinion should be a business model for all clubs and organizations.” Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, Sonja Djokovic, Hospitality & Travel Manager

“I understand that for some females, it is quite challenging to establish themselves in those areas that were traditionally considered a ‘man’s world’ due to their mentality or education. I don’t feel unequal while working in sports.” CSKA Moscow, Natalia Furaeva, Vice President, Sports

“I believe women will be more prominent than ever, at all levels. I would like to see a woman in a real position of power, for example, coaching a professional men’s team like Barca and doing it successfully!” FC Barcelona, Olga Fernandez-Montes, Head of Sports Marketing – Basketball, Handball, Futsal & Roller Hockey

“The challenge and goal at my job is always to be there for our customers. If we can make a wish come true, we will try to find a way!” FC Bayern Munich, Jacqueline Bunge, Customer Satisfaction Manager

“At Fenerbahce sports club, we are part of the “He for She” movement, which supports gender equality not only in sports, but in every area of life. If more clubs participate in these types of projects/movements and create awareness, for sure it will be beneficial to help reform gender roles in sports.” Fenerbahce Beko, Istanbul, Defne Patir, Director of Basketball Operations

“The popular woman I most admire is Elina Bystritskaya, an actress with a strong character, who also led the rhythmic gymnastics federation for 17 years. She developed a reform on the competitions that led this gymnastics style to reach the top level of sport, both in Russia and in the Olympics, and impacted generations of many women.” Khimki Moscow Region, Elena Nazarova, International Director

“I have reached some of my professional goals, I have discovered new ones along the way, and I still have some in mind!” LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, Alexia Leduc, Digital Communication Manager

“I admire Shira Isakov, a brave and inspiring woman. Her message for all those women who experience violence is not to hide and not to be ashamed since they did nothing wrong. She did not hide, was not afraid and did not go round and round.” Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, Liron Wolf, Administration Manager

“Certainly, with more women in all posts, from the benches up to the board seats! I think that the fact men dominate the realm of sports has to do, up to a point, (with the idea that) a large percentage of women weren’t interested in sports up until recently. But this is no longer true and the balance is going to be shifting in the future.” Olympiacos Piraeus, Jenny Gravia, Communication Director

“I admire every woman who has the strength and resilience to pursue her dreams. These dreams could be either a successful career or a beautiful family, or even both. Every person sets their own goals.” Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Zoe Nikolaidou, Marketing & Digital Director

“I admire my mother, a woman who was most of the day away from home working. However, she always was able to pay attention and dedication to her family.” Real Madrid, Silvia Rodriguez, Head of Basketball Administration

“Equality in the world of sport, as in all other fields, can’t be limited to just good intentions, words of praise or visualization activities. We need to internalize and truly believe that equality is the way forward to a healthier, more modern and more democratic society.” TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz, Oiane Domaika, Communication Director

“In general I admire women who are independent, strong and determined, but at the same time humble and empathetic. I do believe that we must give them visibility, particularly in the field of education, so that they can act as references for both boys and girls.” Valencia Basket, Merche Anon, Chief Business Officer

“More than half of the employees in our organization are women. We’re happy that there aren’t any prejudices based on gender here. Nevertheless, people from the outside are still surprised to see so many women working for a basketball club. I do hope that in five years this will be something that doesn’t surprise anyone anymore and that people working in sports (or any other field) won’t be categorized by gender, nationality, race, views or in any other way.” Zalgiris Kaunas, Akvile Dagilyte, Communication Director

“It seems to me that the role of women is changing everywhere now, not only in sports, but also in politics and in the economy. A woman always inspires you to a better result.” Zenit St Petersburg, Liubov Shpagina, Chief Accountant

Seen at: Euroleague.net