On the field and off the field. As players, coaches, umpires and administrators. On this International Women’s Day 2024, a year where the International Hockey Federation (FIH) celebrates its centennial, we focus on eight women who have been leading the way over the past few decades, and creating a blueprint for success that will benefit the generations to come, as they look to these role models and follow in their footsteps. 

In the field of hockey administration and the move towards attaining complete gender equity, Marijke Fleuren is a towering figure in international hockey. As a former member of the FIH Executive Board, member of the IOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission and Honorary Life President of EuroHockey, Marijke has had a storied career in hockey administration. We spoke to Marijke as she discussed her Journey of Passion, Equality, and Family.


In the field of umpiring and umpire management, Marelize de Klerk brings with her an unparalleled level of experience, with nearly three decades spent officiating hockey at the highest level. We spoke to Marelize as she shared her unique path towards first playing hockey and then umpiring, which began with a chance incident, all the way back in 1994! 



When it comes to achieving phenomenal success as a player and a coach in hockey, a scarce few can rival the storied career of Alyson Annan. A winner of 2 Olympic Gold medals and 2 FIH Hockey World Cup titles as a player, to go with a 2 Olympic medals (1 gold, 1 silver) and a World Cup title as a head coach, Alyson shared with us her journey in hockey and the advice she would give to those aiming to follow in her footsteps


As an administrator in Hockey, Els van Breda Vriesman’s achievements are unparalleled. Els was the first - and so far only - female president of the International Hockey Federation (2001-2008) and brought with her decades of experience as a sports administrator and a former member of the International Olympic Committee. Els shared with us her journey starting as a junior national hockey player for the Netherlands to becoming the President of FIH


Indian goalkeeper and captain Savita is already a modern day great and the reigning three-time FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award winner. Her stardom is a shining beacon for girls and women in her native India, showing them the path towards achieving their sporting dreams. We spoke to Savita as she spoke of the important role a family plays in helping an athlete achieve their complete potential. 



Subarna Shreshtha was recently elected Secretary General of Nepal Hockey Association, and long-term administrator with the Asian Hockey Federation. As a fan of hockey since her childhood, Subarna grew up in Nepal with limited opportunity to play the sport. She spoke to us about the work she is doing to make sure those opportunities are available for the next generation to play the game at the highest level. 



Sarah Wilson had a promising career in hockey derailed by a back injury as she was representing Scotland internationally in the under-21 category. But with a strong will to remain associated with hockey, and able guidance Sarah turned to umpiring and has since gone on to have a fabulous career with the whistle, and will soon umpire at her third Olympic Games in Paris 2024! Sarah spoke with us to share her journey and the team she has found within the hockey umpiring community, that she can’t imagine living without. 



Luciana Aymar is largely considered one of the best players to ever pick up a hockey stick. With 4 medals at the Olympic Games and 4 World Cup medals, Luciana had a long and storied career, which also included winning a record 8 FIH Player of the Year awards. We spoke to Luciana as she shared the story behind her stardom and how she believes the sporting community can further embrace gender equality


Speaking on the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2024, a year that also marks the 100-years of the International Hockey Federation, FIH President Tayyab Ikram said: 

“With global participation in hockey being 51% female and 49% male, hockey can pride itself of being a gender-equal sport on the field of play. However, we still have efforts to make. And even more so off the field of play.

The FIH Statutes do stipulate that half of the Ordinary Members of the Executive Board MUST be women. That is good, but numbers are not what impacts most. For a sustainable outcome, we need, together with the National Associations, to develop capacity-building for women and empower women. And it’s my personal wish that leadership programmes shall be introduced at youth level as well.


Furthermore, men MUST stand for women! This is critical. Gender equality cannot be an objective initiated or led by women only! Gender equality will only be reached if men do commit to and act in favour of it! I therefore appeal to all my male colleagues – within hockey but also sport and society at large - to become active advocates of inclusion and determined leaders in mindset changing.

Throughout all our events and activities, and with the support of our Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee chaired by Marijke Fleuren, we will ensure that gender equality not only prevails but keeps on improving in everything we do.”