Dr Emma Kavanagh from Bournemouth University Business School has been invited to present her research on the virtual abuse of elite athletes to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.
She will be speaking on 10th March at a session organised by UN Women, the Permanent Mission of Monaco (Co-chair of the Group of Friends on Sport for Development and Peace) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Dr Kavanagh will be part of a panel event entitled: Sport for Generation Equality - Strengthening the role of sport in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The world of sport is currently experiencing a wave of momentum for gender equality. This event will showcase the Sport for Generation Equality Framework, exchange on good practices, address emerging challenges, and reflect on policy approaches that empower women and girls in and through sports - and contribute to building more equal, safe, and inclusive communities.
This year’s CSW has a priority theme concerning “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age”. This theme presents a key opportunity to discuss the ways in which violence facilitated through technology intersects and presents itselft within the context of sport, with a particular focus on women and girls.
The panel will share insights into the risks posed by virtual environments for women and girls. They will also look at initiatives and strategies which can be taken to respond to this challenge and the role that sport can play in addressing cyber-enabled gender-based violence in wider society.
Emma has been recognised for her work on this topic and her contribution to the online safety in sporting spaces. Her research has been pivotal in framing the presence of violence in virtual spaces and the risks that can be posed to athletes, organisations and other personnel in the sporting entourage.
She has also examined the experiences of high-profile women (including sports women and academics) negotiating virtual spaces, and considered the issue of staying safe online. Emma works alongside colleagues from Bournemouth University and Charles Sturt University, Australia.
Dr Emma Kavanagh commented, “it is really exciting to see leading organisations such as the IOC championing the importance of keeping people safe online and recognising how virtual spaces cross into real world sporting environments, rather than being separate.
"Sporting organisations in turn need to have stronger policies and strategies in place to respond to violence facilitated though technology in order to keep athletes and their entourage safe from abuse. There is a real opportunity for sporting organisations to lead the way in online safety through education and strategic partnerships with social media platforms. I am delighted that our research is helping to raise awareness and help frame essential conversations surrounding online safety in and beyond sport”.
Dr Kavanagh’s involvement will also benefit her students as it feeds into her teaching, so they can learn from her research and professional insights. Dr Kavanagh is also available to supervise research students in this area.