Meet the Match

A Serbian Gender Equality Advocate Bridges Gaps

Maja Ciganovic is president and co-founder of the Center for the Affirmation of Women in Sport (CAZS), a non-profit gender equality organization in Serbia, and creator and coordinator of the online Zdravo Buduća Sportistkinjo (“Hello Future Sportswoman”) campaign. She seeks to bridge the gender equality gap in Serbian sports by showing how women are making a positive difference in the sports world.

While Maja played many sports growing up, it was in sixth grade when her family settled in Novi Sad that she began playing basketball. She won a Serbian championship with her juniors team in 1997. Basketball seamlessly transitioned into a life of activism for Maja, who has spent more than a decade in various leadership roles for Vojvodina Women’s Basketball Club, the Novi Sad Gender Equality Commission and City Assembly, and the Vojvodina Regional Institute of Sport and Sports Medicine. In 2015, Maja co-founded CAŽS, the first Serbian non-profit organization specializing in gender equality in sport. The organization’s mission is to promote and encourage women’s participation in all aspects of the Serbian sports system—across disciplines and positions—, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

Maja seeks to demonstrate to policymakers that sports and physical activity are crucial for developing healthy lifestyles, leadership, discipline, and teamwork skills in girls and women. By participating in the GSMP, she has access to a network of female leaders who provide valuable insight related to fundraising, gender equality policy, promotion and advertising, and social media. She is also expanding campaigns, such as Hello Future Sportswoman, where she can creatively engage with the public to promote female role models and the importance of media coverage of all sportswomen and women’s sports.

Maja earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and basketball from the University of Novi Sad. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time in nature. She wants her legacy to be, simply, love.

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