For the past three years, UNESCO and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour have been collaborating in a landmark global partnership to further gender equality and promote women’s leadership in all spheres of society.
The Director-General congratulated Ms Zvonareva on her designation as the fourth UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality on 20 May 2009, alongside Venus Williams (USA), Tatiana Golovin (France) and Zheng Jie (China). Mr Matsuura welcomed the commitment Ms Zvonareva has made to raising awareness of gender equality issues at a national and global level and taking part in women's leadership programmes.
On the occasion of Ms Zvonareva’s designation, the Director-General stated: "As leaders and role models for women and girls around the world, these formidable athletes and successful women are a source of inspiration in their deeds both on and off the court, promoting the message that gender equality is a goal that can and must be realized in order for us to achieve peace and sustainable development."
Being a tennis player himself, Mr Matsuura discussed Ms Zvonareva’s brilliant career and tennis game, recalling the bronze medal she won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and congratulating her on her current ranking of number 6 in the world. The Director-General was saddened upon learning that Ms Zvonareva had had to withdraw from the French Open, currently being played in Paris, due to an injury. Wishing her a full recovery, Mr Matsuura expressed his confidence that Ms Zvonareva would be a great advocate of Gender Equality.
For her part, Ms Zvonareva thanked the Director-General for this unique opportunity and expressed her pride at being part of this important partnership. She ensured the Director-General of her full commitment to the cause of gender equality.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 101-2009 - Publication Date: 29-05-2009