Falilatou Tchanile-Salifou has been named Woman of the Year as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.
Tchanile-Salifou receives the honour in recognition of her dedication to advancing women’s rights and fostering gender equality in sport. As President of the Togolese athletics federation, Tchanile-Salifou has demonstrated outstanding leadership and unwavering commitment, with a series of transformative initiatives throughout 2023 that have left a lasting impact on Togo’s sports landscape.
Campaigns have included ‘Girls Together for Sport and for Life’, which promoted women’s participation in sport and raised awareness among girls in the most remote areas of Togo. The ‘Programme for the Promotion of Women’s Sport in Togo’ also featured a women’s race, which brought together 1500 participants from across Togo.
Another project celebrated the role models who have overcome obstacles, with parents encouraged to register the births of girls and enrol them in school. For the start of the 2023 school year, this resulted in 90% of girls returning to school, compared to 40% in 2022.
Tchanile-Salifou’s commitment to challenging stereotypes and promoting women in leadership roles culminated in the ‘Feminisation of Governing Bodies’ project. This increased the number of club presidents from five to nine and established four women-led commissions within the Togolese athletics federation, fostering greater gender diversity in decision-making bodies.
Recognising the media’s role in promoting gender equality, Tchanile-Salifou also organised five awareness-raising sessions, led by Togolese female athletics champions.
“It is a privilege and an honour for me to have been named World Athletics Woman of the Year for 2023,” said Tchanile-Salifou.
“It is an honour that I would like to share with all my team; together we have worked with young girls and young women to help them reach more autonomy, more leadership opportunities, more equity and more participation opportunities. This has enabled some of them to free themselves from their precarious situations and given them the opportunity to practice sports.
“I would like to thank World Athletics and in particular President Sebastian Coe who, by introducing this award, has helped shine a light on the tireless work by women around the world. I would also like to thank my athletics family and my biological family.
“I cannot finish without thanking my country, Togo, and its leader, the President of the State, who by his politics of peace and security has supported the development of our projects across the whole country.”
The Woman of the Year Award gives recognition to those that have made an outstanding contribution to promoting the advancement of gender equality in athletics.
It is the second honour announced as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023. On Monday (4), Laurent Meuwly was named winner of the Coaching Achievement Award and further announcements will be made in the coming days, ahead of the World Athletes of the Year and Rising Stars being revealed on Monday 11 December.