Under the theme "New Strategies, New Commitments", the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hold the third world conference on women and sport in Marrakech, Morocco starting 7 March.
For three days, more than 500 participants representing more than 150 nations will listen to and discuss several issues relating to women and sport: historical, cultural and religious constraints; women in the Olympic movement, marketing and business; gender considerations; media exposure and women's sport; partnerships for women's advancement; women and leadership; and the role of role models.
I am honoured that I was chosen to participate in the conference, just as I was honoured to go to the one before it, in Paris in 2000. My 15- minute lecture then tackled the role of the media and images of women's sport beyond aesthetics. There was only one other Egyptian representative, Sophie Sarwat, head of the international affairs committee at the Egyptian National Olympic Committee.
I was then six months pregnant with my first child but was glad to take part in the event. Four years later, I am a mother of two and am taking part in the Morocco conference as a member of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Women's Affairs Committee. The IOC is inviting me to serve as a rapporteur at the session dealing with media exposure and women's sport. My role will be to highlight comments and specific proposals which arise from addresses and debate sessions, draw some key points and present general conclusions at the final plenary session .
Other Egyptians will be Mounira Morkous, NOC board member and head of the Women's Affairs Committee, Sahar El-Hawari, board member of the Egyptian Football Association and Maha Tawfiq who will speak about the development of women sports and gender equity. All three have doctorates so I guess I should be working towards one myself.
The increase in the number of Egyptian participants is a positive development. Egypt was one of the first nations to meet one of the Paris 2000 resolutions which stated that women should be represented at NOC and national federations with a minimum of 10 per cent in decision-making positions. Just months after that resolution came out, a woman representative was selected as a board member in every Egyptian national federation and the NOC.
This year the three-day event will analyse progress made in the field of women's advancement at all levels in sport and in the Olympic Movement in particular. The conference will also outline priority issues still facing women in sport and address relevant strategies and policy guidelines to meet these challenges in the years to come.
The conference, held under the patronage of King Mohamed VI, will be divided into two plenary sessions and eight regular sessions. Plenary session one will deal with gender mainstreaming policy and will start with a video display showing 100 years of women in the Olympic Games. IOC President Jacques Rogge will speak about the evolution of the Olympic Games to be followed by a video message and a progress report from the Paris conference up to the present and an overview of women and sport leadership by Anita De Frantz, chairwomen of the IOC Women and Sport Commission. The conference will also take the opportunity to celebrate International Women's Day.
It looks like being a great week for women.