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Céline Cottalorda: “Changing mentalities is essential for society to evolve”

MKA-PORTRAIT CÉLINE COTTALORDA-1
@ Communications department

The Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights in Monaco is responsible for coordinating public policies to promote equality between women and men and to combat violence and discrimination against women.

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For International Women’s Rights Day, celebrated on 8 March, the second-year classes of Monaco’s schools took part in the creation of a collective work by the artist Mr. One Teas on the theme: “Women and sport seen through the prism of the new generation”. 

The final work honours the figure of a pioneer in the world of women’s sport. The Inter-ministerial Delegate for Women’s Rights, Céline Cottalorda, explains the choice of this theme. 

This year, we decided to promote equality between men and women through sport because it is a powerful vector for changing mentalities. Changing mentalities is essential for society to evolve and for women’s rights to progress.

The choice of this theme underlines the Principality’s long-standing commitment to the development of sport, including women’s sport. In 1921, under the impetus of Prince Albert I, the President of the Société des Bains de Mer, Camille Blanc, and the International Sporting Club of Monaco, the Principality hosted the first Women’s Olympics. This was a pioneering event which demonstrated the Principality’s support for the development of women’s sport.

Today, in Monaco, many women hold positions of responsibility within sports governing bodies. The choice of a sports-related theme for 8 March is in keeping with the current context, with the Women’s Football World Cup taking place this year and the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will be the first Games to feature strict parity between men and women.

Despite progress, many preconceived ideas and stereotypes remain. Some sports such as rugby and even football, are still gendered and women still have a limited place in the world of sport. Salary inequalities between female professional athletes and their male counterparts are still significant; women are clearly under-represented in sport’s decision-making bodies and women’s sport is struggling to find visibility in the media.

Nevertheless, it is essential that young girls can identify with female role models who set an example, give a positive image of women and encourage young women to follow their path. As a means of emancipation for girls and women, sport allows them to surpass themselves, to gain self-confidence and to transmit values of respect, tolerance and humanity.

It breaks down social and cultural barriers as well as fighting against prejudices and gender stereotypes that are present at a very early stage in the development of a child’s personality. It was therefore essential for the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights to raise awareness among young girls and boys and to convey a strong message of equality and emancipation through sport on 8 March.

Céline Cottalorda