Dear Minister Lalošević, Your Excellencies, esteemed representatives of National olympic committees and the International Olympic Committee, respected athletes and sports workers, representatives of national sports federations, organisations and clubs, esteemed partners of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, respected media representatives, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour to greet you on behalf of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, which I lead, and our partners – the Center for Affirmation of Youth and Sports – CAMS. The participation and success of women in sports have been shaped by a long and complex history. Although it is more socially acceptable for women to participate in sports and recreation today, as you know, this has not always been the case. In most parts of the world, women did not have the same access to sports as men until the late nineteenth century. In the last 20 years, however, we have witnessed incredible progress in the participation of women in sports competitions. Women's involvement in sports has become more socially acceptable, and women have access to a much wider range of sports and disciplines. However, despite the progress made in recent decades, there is still much work to be done. Female athletes still receive significantly less money and media attention than their male counterparts, and this must be addressed if we want sports to be truly equal. We cannot continue to accept the status quo; it is up to us to ensure that all female athletes receive the respect and recognition they deserve. It is essential that women's sports continue to be visible, supported, financed, and celebrated. However, Montenegro can proudly boast of significant participation of women in international sports competitions, and at the last Olympic Games held in Tokyo, our Olympic team consisted of more women than men. Our country has recently achieved impressive sports successes at the continental and international level, thanks to Montenegrin female athletes. However, we still have a lot to do to ensure that all participants in sports are protected from any form of discrimination and that everyone involved in sports, in any role, is aware of the principles of respect and inclusion. Certainly, the evident problem is the percentage of women in the governing bodies of sports organisations in Montenegro, and I think this is primarily a cultural problem in our country. Most women decide not to continue their careers after completing their sports careers but instead dedicate themselves to family and children. Therefore, there is a great challenge for sports organisations in Montenegro to identify and recruit women who are interested in being in governing positions in sports organisations. Initiatives such as conferences and workshops have proved very useful for individual participants. Still, there is a need for additional mechanisms that will establish a strategic path for women in governing positions, particularly in higher positions on the Executive Boards, such as the presidential and vice-presidential positions. Therefore, as the umbrella sports organisation in the country, it is our obligation to ensure equal representation of all genders, ethnic groups, and individuals with different abilities at all levels of leadership in sports organisations, and to raise awareness, inspire and empower them to continue their careers in sports, in coaching or managerial roles, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Youth, national sports associations, and other sports entities. This conference represents one of the mechanisms to increase women's involvement in the governing of sports organisations, and the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, in collaboration with its national partners, as well as the International Olympic Committee and the European Olympic Committees, who have also supported this event, will continue to organise various events and implement programmes, campaigns, and initiatives to increase awareness of equality, diversity, and inclusion in sports. Female athletes face significant challenges when it comes to engaging in sports within a safe environment. Therefore, it is important for female athletes to feel the freedom and safety to approach their coaches, club and federation leaders, their National olympic committees, or medical professionals if they are concerned about their safety or are victims of any form of abuse and discrimination on or off the field. There are several ways to improve safety in women's sports. This includes, among other things, increasing the number of female coaches and referees and providing more opportunities for girls to participate in sports. It is also important to ensure a safe sports environment and clear mechanisms for protecting female athletes from abuse and harassment. In order to promote the importance of safe sports, the Montenegrin Olympic Committee will create appropriate guidelines, policies, and procedures that will focus on preventing and responding to any type of abuse and inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying, sexual harassment, or any form of discrimination, as well as clear guidelines and information on reporting any experience of abuse or inappropriate behaviour. Our esteemed guests will certainly speak more on these topics, and I take this opportunity to thank them for taking the time and agreeing to participate in this important event for us. I believe that their experience, which they will share with us today, will help us create opportunities for female leadership in sports and encourage other women to follow their example and be inspired to continue their careers in sports organisations. I also believe that they will help us ensure a safe sports environment and create guidelines, policies, and procedures. Finally, I thank you all for taking the time to be here today and for supporting women in sports in this way.