Women's handball workshop

Taking women’s handball forward

A unique workshop hosted by the EHF in October 2017 has given new impetus to the further development of women’s handball – and women in handball.

The EHF’s Women’s Handball Board (WHB) is ambitious going into 2018.

The WHB is responsible for the multi-faceted promotion and further development of women’s handball across Europe and the global involvement of both active players and female handball professionals.

After reviewing its work plan 2017-2020, the WHB decided in March 2017 not to change its strategy or objectives, but to shift its focus.

More priority will be given to the enhancement of the image and the women’s handball brand; raising the awareness and visibility; further development of the top products (EURO, WCL & F4) and focus on youth handball.

Activities built on three pillars

To accomplish its goals, the WHB is building its activities on three pillars: education, development and promotion.

Among its educational initiatives in 2017 was the financial support of 24 female participants in various EHF seminars, workshops and courses, including the European Handball Manager Certificate Programme, the EHF Club Manager Seminar, the EHF Youth Coaches’ Workshop and the EHF Beach Handball course for Referees and Delegates.

One of the WHB’s development initiatives was the young reporters’ project organised at the same time as the W19 EHF EURO 2017 in Celje, Slovenia.

The WHB’s promotional initiatives included the presentation of female leadership awards at the Women’s 17/19 EHF EURO/Championships, and a photo project in cooperation with the young reporters at the tournament in Slovenia.

Women’s Handball Workshop

The key initiative in 2017, however, was staging the second Women’s Handball Workshop in Vienna in October.

Women’s handball experts from over 30 member federations gathered for two days to exchange ideas, inputs and strategies to further develop the women’s game.

According to Narcisa Lecusanu, the WHB Chairwoman, the EHF received positive feedback especially on the best-practice presentations by the Dutch and the Norwegian federations on the development of youth handball to the top level.

“Youth coaches are so important. Look at the Netherlands over the last 10 years. They have developed from a moderate level into world class,” said Lecusanu, referring to the Dutch Handball Academy.

Hosting 25 young talented women each year, the Dutch full-time training programme started in 2006 and eventually resulted in silver medals for the women’s national team at the World Championship 2015 and the EHF EURO 2016.

And the federation of Norway, where two-thirds out of 128,000 registered players are female, is running special programmes also for players who do not make the national team.

To strengthen women’s youth handball the EHF is planning to introduce a special development project for the mentoring of coaches in women’s youth handball, as they are the vital link as teacher and a role model for the players.

Vital that retired players stay active in women’s handball

“It is also important to prepare players for what comes after their playing career,” said Lecusanu, highlighting the necessity of the players education and the required support for their dual career. “For women’s handball it is vital that players stay active in the sport after they have stopped playing and to undertake the roles as a referee, delegate, coach, sports manager, commentator etc.”

As for the WHB, the plans for 2018 include a Women’s Handball Convention at the EHF EURO 2018 in France, and a role models and EURO promotional campaign in the build-up to the championship.

While the EHF worked with former stars as ambassadors for the Women’s EURO 2016 in Sweden, this time is envisaged that active players will fulfil the function as national role models and will be presented on the EHF website and social media channels.

Apart from promoting the Women’s EURO 2018, the campaign will also enhance the image of women’s handball across the continent, empower, show and promote strong female leadership and competence, as well as inspire young players for top-level handball.

Further steps to strengthen the position of women in handball
Increasing female representation in EHF Commissions

The WHB was introduced in 2012 by the EHF, which in 2017 has taken further steps to strengthen the position of women in handball.

After signing the Brighton Declaration in June 2016 and following a motion by the Norwegian federation in respect of the gender equality at the EHF Congress later that year, the EHF committed itself to further develop and integrate gender equality into its structure.

Consequently, the female representation in the various EHF Commissions has increased from 22.6 to 28.3 percent in 2017.