The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced (on March 8, 2022) the three outstanding winners of the 2022 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards.
Zimbabwe’s coach Oripa Mubika (Leadership), Singapore’s Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu (Emerging Leadership), and Paralympics New Zealand (National Paralympic Committee and International Federation) have each received the 2022 International Women’s Day Award.
The awards primarily recognize women in the paralympic movement who inspire and emulate the paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models, with the winners being decided by the IPC’s Women in Sport Committee, which is chaired by Rita van Driel.
“I want to congratulate the winners on their well-deserved recognition and on opening up new opportunities for women across the whole paralympic spectrum; you are an inspiration to us all,” said van Driel.
“We had so many strong applications from across the world, which is testament of the increase in number of women leading our movement, and I want to thank everyone who entered,” she said.
“It is very important for the IPC Women in Sport Committee to have strong female representation in leadership positions across the paralympic movement to get more women involved and, therefore, make it more diverse and inclusive,” she said.
This category recognizes sustained and consistent leadership over a period of time, advocacy, overall contributions and impact promoting and supporting women in sport. Candidates considered included coaches, current or former athletes, administrators and officials.
Oripa Mubika – Zimbabwe
Oripa Mubika was one of the few female para sport coaches in Zimbabwe before the country joined the IPC. As NPC Zimbabwe Secretary General, she has facilitated the introduction of sitting volleyball in 2016, increased female representation on the board to 50 percent, and ensured that at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, NPC Zimbabwe had its first female coach.
This category recognizes early-stage career leadership, advocacy, overall contributions and impact promoting and supporting women in sport. Candidates considered included coaches, current and former athletes, administrators and elected officials.
Yip Pin Xiu – Singapore
A multi-gold medalist across three paralympics, Pin Xiu has led an era of change for Singapore. An outspoken advocate, Pin Xiu was the first para athlete elected as a Nominated Member of Parliament and has challenged the government to cultivate inclusive national sport associations. Recognizing her impact on pushing forward the inclusion agenda, in 2021 she was the first recipient of a new national award, the President’s Award for Inspiring Achievement.
This category recognizes the leadership, impact and effective change initiated by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations (IFs) who promote and support equality and inclusion of women in sport.
Paralympics New Zealand
It is clear Paralympics New Zealand is an equal opportunities employer: their Chief Executive and Board Chair are both female; 57 percent of their Board and 82% of their staff, 80 percent of their senior leadership team and 82 percent of their classifiers are female also. Their Chef and Deputy Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Paralympic Teams for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 are all female, while 88% of the 12 medals won at the Tokyo 2020 were won by women.
Chief Executive Fiona Allan was delighted that the award recognized Paralympics New Zealand’s (PNZ) commitment to gaining equality for women in Paralympic sport.
“On behalf of PNZ I am incredibly proud that our organization has been recognized with this award. Our female Paralympians and Para athletes continue to inspire future generations of girls and women in Para sport. We endeavor to ensure female representation across all aspects of our organization, from our Board, our staff and support staff,” said Allen, who was presented with PNZ’s award in Beijing by Rita van Driel and IPC President Andrew Parsons.
“Here in Beijing our Chef de Mission and Deputy Chef de Mission are both women, further demonstrating our commitment to enable women to have the opportunity in leadership positions. I wish to thank IPC and the IPC Women in Sport Committee for showcasing through these awards the contribution of organizations and individuals as we collectively work together to build a diverse and truly inclusive society,” she added.
2021 – Kate Caithness (Leadership), Zahra Nemati (Emerging Leadership) and World Para Powerlifting (National Paralympic Committee/International Federation)
2020 – Paulina Malinowska-Kowalczyk (Builder), Maha Bargouthi (Next Generation) and Paralympics Australia (NPC/IF)
2019 – Deepa Malik
2018 – Dr. Hayat Khattab
2017 – Dr. Cheri Blauwet
2016 – Carla Qualtrough
2015 – Chantal Petitclerc
2014 – Rima Batalova
2013 – Sylvana Mestre
Feature image credit: Paralympics New Zealand Chief Executive Fiona Allan was presented with the Award by IPC President Andrew Parsons ⒸParalympics New Zealand