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Women and Sport conference will return home to UK in 2026

The world’s largest gathering of people engaged in accelerating gender equity in sport and physical activity will meet in Birmingham in 2026.

Dedicated to ensuring gender equity in sport and physical activity, the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport was established in Brighton, England in 1994 and will return to the UK from 1 October 2022 – 30 September 2026.

Hosting the IWG for a four-year period, the UK’s Sport and Recreation Alliance will receive the baton from the Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA) following the 8th conference there in October 2022.

Since its conception in England nearly 30 years ago, the conference has travelled to Namibia, Canada, Japan, Australia, Finland, Botswana and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport will take place in Birmingham, adding to the city’s portfolio of global sports events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Following a comprehensive and competitive bidding process, we are excited to have been awarded the 2022-26 Secretariat, culminating in the 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Birmingham in 2026, and the opportunity to continue the excellent work of the New Zealand Secretariat,” IWG incoming co-chair, Annamarie Phelps CBE said.

The conference is set to take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham and the theme of the conference will focus on inclusivity, learning and sustainability in the post-pandemic world.

The estimated economic impact in terms of direct spend from delegates has been calculated to be more than £1.6million. The event also promises to bring a whole host of additional benefits to Birmingham, including a surge in tourism, improved infrastructure, and jobs for local residents.

West Midlands Growth Company chief executive Neil Rami, said: “We are honoured to have been selected to deliver an outstanding event for the International Working Group on Women & Sport Conference in 2026.

“Throughout the bid process, West Midlands Growth Company worked closely with partners across the business and events community and accommodation sector, leading a network of stakeholders who all shared overwhelming support for the bid.

“It was a masterclass in how the region’s sense of positivity and can-do attitude, coupled with its passion, ideas and enthusiasm can really make a difference.  We all look forward to being part of a global event which will put Birmingham in the spotlight, supporting employment, business skills and societal change.”

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