ISPO Munich/01/15/2024

Women's day by ISPO: Of pioneers and role models

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Women are redefining the rules - that was the unmistakable message of Women's Day by ISPO at ISPO Munich 2023. Led by icons like Nicola Winter, the fighter jet pilot and ESA reserve astronaut, and empowered by the powerful voices of trailblazing leaders like Ruth Oberrauch, a clear message was delivered: The time of underrepresentation and inequality in sport is over! It is time to not only recognize the achievements and contributions of women in sport, but to promote them with vigor and enthusiasm - a movement that can no longer be overlooked.

Nicola Winter gave exciting insights at the Women's Day by ISPO at ISPO Munich 2023.

Breaking through barriers: Women in sport

Women's day by ISPO made it unmistakably clear: women deserve the same recognition, attention and remuneration as their male colleagues - and that is a message that needs to be heard loud and clear.

The inspiring presentations offered deep insights into the challenges women face - not only in sports, but also in the industry and in global contexts. It is a time of change and these four key takeaways from Women's Day are a powerful signal for change:

  1. Performance and success knows no gender.
  2. Women's sport has enormous, previously untapped potential.
  3. Women belong in the top echelons of the sports industry.
  4. No more "shrink it, pink it": women design products that meet their needs and strengths.

Women can do everything that men can do

Nicola Winter, who literally flies above the clouds, showed us with passion at the Women's Day by ISPO that success does not depend on gender, size or innate talent, but on unwavering will, perseverance and passion:

"With courage, empathy, discipline, passion and a little bit of luck, we can make it anywhere - even to the stars."

As a fighter jet pilot and ESA reserve astronaut, she broke through barriers that many consider insurmountable. Her message is powerful and clear: "If a man has already done it, it's very easy for a woman to do it too. Because I think we are just as capable of anything."

Outstanding performance, unequal rewards

The financial divide in sport is a bitter reality. Female athletes like Camille Herron, who overtook her male competitors at the 2022 US Track and Field 100-mile championships, show what women can achieve. But financial recognition lags far behind. This discrepancy is reflected in salaries, prize money, media presence and sponsorship contracts. In popular sports such as basketball, golf, soccer, baseball and tennis, male athletes earn significantly more than their female counterparts, as a recent study has once again shown. An imbalance that needs to be corrected.

Image credit:
Jeffrey F Lin/

Women's soccer conquers the world stage

But there is hope and progress! The 2023 Women's World Cup has caused a stir worldwide and put the spotlight on the enormous potential of women's sport. Experts such as Bianca Rech and Theresa Severer from FC Bayern Munich have made it clear that women's soccer, with its rapidly rising spectator numbers and growing interest from sponsors, offers huge, previously untapped potential. Anita Body from Sport 1 underlines this with impressive figures: Matches involving the FC Bayern Munich women's team now attract up to 500,000 viewers to watch the Monday night game on TV - an increase of three to four times the original viewing figures. And a triumph for women's sport!

Women's sport as a lucrative field for investors and sponsors

This development not only shows the recognition of sporting performance, but also reveals the economic importance of women's sport for investors and sponsors. The increasing popularity and visibility, especially in women's soccer, opens up new opportunities for sponsorship and media presence. With a diversifying fan base: more women, more young people and 40 percent of spectators who had never attended a soccer match before - according to Bettina Baer from Consulting Two Circles.

The fight for equality in leadership roles

However, it's not just about visibility on the pitch, but also about representation in strategic and decisive roles behind the scenes. Jana Bernhard from "Football can do more" emphasizes with urgency: "It is high time to talk about leadership positions in the clubs. Out of 150 top positions, only four are held by women."

The challenge of underrepresentation is not limited to clubs, but is an industry-wide problem. Although progressive companies such as Vaude have a 44% share of women in their management ranks, such figures are the exception rather than the rule. Dr. Susanne Henningers, representative of the "Connecting Women" network at the Munich trade show, drew attention to a sobering fact: "Only 17 percent of management positions in the sports industry are held by women, a figure that is far from a fair 50/50 distribution." Or to put it more simply: "My impression is that there are too many men in the industry, especially at C-level." (Constanze Fuchs, Category Manager ISPO Munich).

A situation that not only represents a challenge, but also a clear call to action.

Brands in focus: pioneering work for women in the sports and outdoor industry

Brands like LaMunt and Kari Traa are at the forefront of a movement that is redefining the sports and outdoor sector for women. Founded and led by women, they are passionate about integrating women as key designers in the development process of their products. They are turning away from the outdated "shrink it, pink it" approach, where women's products are just scaled-down and color-matched versions of men's products. Instead, they are creating innovations that prioritize women's unique needs and strengths - from women-specific designs to female leaders setting new standards.

Vision of LaMunt

"The mountain sports industry has long been dominated by male brands. I wanted to change that and create a brand that is fully dedicated to the needs of women."
Ruth Oberrauch, Vice President of the Oberalp Group and founder of LaMunt
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Women in sport set new standards

Women's Day by ISPO 2023 not only sent a strong signal for equality and recognition, but also sent a clear message to the world: Women in sport are here to redefine the rules and take the lead.

What message did the Women's Day by ISPO 2023 convey?

The Women's Day by ISPO emphasized that women deserve the same recognition and support in sports as men to break barriers and achieve equality.

What are some key insights from this event?

Performance knows no gender, women's sports have tremendous potential, women belong in leadership roles, and products should cater to women's needs.

What does the financial reality in sports reveal about gender?

Despite women in sports delivering outstanding performances, their financial rewards lag behind, with differences in salaries, prize money, and sponsorship deals compared to men.

What role does women's football play in this movement?

Women's football is gaining global significance, with increasing viewership and sponsorship interest, offering new opportunities for investment and media presence, highlighting the value of women's sports.

Why is gender equality in leadership roles important?

The representation of women in strategic positions is crucial to combat underrepresentation in the sports industry, both on the field and in leadership positions behind the scenes.