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Guidetti Family announced as UNDP Gender Equality Advocates of Turkey

Credit: UNDP Türkiye

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey yesterday announced that national team volleyball player, Bahar Toksoy Guidetti, and women’s national volleyball team head coach, Giovanni Guidetti, are its Gender Equality Advocates. 

The UNDP Turkey collaborates with prominent figures in society to advocate for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which encourage individuals and institutions to take action on global challenges.

In addition, the UNDP Turkey has identified stars in women’s volleyball to help promote goal five, gender equality. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and her husband, Giovanni Guidetti, were appointed as Gender Equality Advocates via videoconference during an online ceremony. Both members of the Guidetti partnership have an incredibly successful history in sports, and are also dedicated to promoting girls’ education in the most disadvantaged regions of Turkey.

UNDP Turkey’s Goodwill Ambassador Mert Fırat moderated the press conference, with participation from UNDP Turkey Resident Representative Claudio Tomasi, Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and Giovanni Guidetti.

The Guidetti Family was appointed as UNDP Gender Equality Advocates of Turkey during an online ceremony

Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative, said: 

“I have the pleasure to appoint Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti and Mr. Giovanni Guidetti as Gender Equality Advocates of United Nations Development Programme in Turkey. All of you know the Guidetti family for their outstanding volleyball careers, but let me tell you that our interest in appointing them as Gender Equality Advocates was inspired by their personal story in women’s sports, empowering women and the commitment they have demonstrated to using their talents to benefit girls across Turkey. I am sure that the Guidetti family and UNDP will come together and contribute greatly to the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly highlighting goal five, gender equality. With these appointments, UNDP aims to mobilise its local, regional and global partners to take action to strengthen gender equality in all segments of society, and make further progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.”

Mr. Giovanni Guidetti, head coach of the Turkey women’s national volleyball team, said: 

“Sports have great potential to empower girls. Through sports, women challenge the misconception that they are weak or incapable. There are unfortunately barriers in the world to girls’ equal access to sports. Visible and invisible barriers. Girls receive messages from family members and society that sports are for boys, not for girls. Volleyball is a perfect example where women can display full potential in the absence of gender discrimination in sports. I am lucky that volleyball is a discipline with the highest pay-off for women, and a proud member of a club founded to promote women’s empowerment. That said, female coaches are a key factor to girls’ involvement in sports. Even in volleyball, we do not have a sufficient number of female head coaches. This is the world we live in. Everything you do can make a difference. Never doubt that a considerate and motivated small group can change the world. With this firm belief, we have started the project Tomorrow’s Sultans (Yarının Sultanları) appreciated by the United Nations Development Programme. I am greatly honoured to be a Gender Equality Advocate and I promise I will do my best to tear down all the barriers standing in the way of girls’ futures in volleyball.”

National volleyball player Ms. Bahar Toksoy Guidetti said: 

“Two years ago, we went to Bitlis to teach girls of 15 to 16 years of age. They were highly enthusiastic, excited and happy throughout the day. When it was time to part, one of them said ‘I wish you did not come here. The more I got to know you, the more I wished to become an athlete like you. But we cannot get out to the street, let alone play volleyball.’ There and then I realised that the biggest barrier before girls was gender inequality. I further realised that it was not enough to just inspire them, have them dream and encourage them. Then I worked to do something, be it only little, every day for that. We saw that small but continuous steps would have a inconceivably huge impact. It is a great honour for me that the United Nations Development Programme selected me as a Gender Equality Advocate. Through this cooperation, we will achieve more in a shorter time. I wholeheartedly believe in this, and am ready to give all I can.”

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