UNESCO-Sony WTA Tour Partnership raises $ 360 mn

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Bangalore, Mar 4 (UNI) The UNESCO-Sony WTA Tour Partnership, working for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment across the world, raised more than US Dollar 360 mn by donations from private persons and through sports bodies, UNESCO Division for Women and Gender Equality, Director, Sanye Gulser Corat said.

Addressing newspersons here today she said the partnership programme, launched only 18 months ago, has collected a corpus fund of more than US Dollar 360 mn.

Appreciating the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) for presenting a cheque of USD 1,00,000 towards the fund, she said, ''the timing of the KSLTA's donation is significant as sources of funding for gender equality and women's empowerment have been dwindling in these days.'' Ms Corat said the contribution will enable the establishment of a new partnership programme in India. It has also proposed to spend the proceeds of the fund for the noble causes in selected countries including India, Cameroon, Liberia, China, Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

Stating that the problem of gender inequality is largely found in the low-income nations she said one such program will also be launched in one of the most industrially advanced countries.

Lauding ace women tennis player and reigning Wimbeldon champion Venus William's support for the cause, Ms Corat said ''Williams joins hands with us for promoting gender equality and women empowerment.'' Ms Williams, who was also present on the occasion, said ''like tennis, the cause of promoting gender equality and women empowerment is a passion for me, and I will extend all co-operations with those organisations which are working on it.'' On the occasion a balck coloured T-shirt, specially designed by Venus Williams, spotting the message - 'Strong, Smart, Confident and Equal Women' - was released.

Ms Williams, who is participating in the Bangalore Open, along with her sister Sareena Williams, said ''I will look forward to coming back to Bangalore to help support this programme.'' UNI MV GKT RL PM1933

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