Russian tennis ace, Olympic bronze medallist and Grand Slam champion Vera Zvonareva was named today as a Promoter of Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).Ms. Zvonareva, who at 24 is currently ranked number 6 in the world, has been appointed to call attention to gender equality issues at the national and global levels, and take part in women’s leadership programmes through the UNESCO-Sony Ericsson WTA Tour partnership.“I am very happy to announce today that Ms. Vera Zvonareva is being designated as the fourth UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality,” said the agency’s Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura.Ms. Zvonareva joins other distinguished Promoters of Gender Equality, including current Tour stars Venus Williams of the United States, Tatiana Golovin of France and Zheng Jie of China, as well as Tour founder and pioneering tennis player Billie Jean King, who was appointed Global Mentor for Gender Equality last year. Mr. Matsuura stressed that as global role models, “these formidable athletes and successful women are a source of inspiration in their deeds both on and off the court, driving the message that gender equality is a goal that can and must be realized in order for us to achieve peace and sustainable development.”Since its 2006 launch, the UNESCO-Tour collaboration has raised substantial funds; initiated a series of programmes promoting gender equality and women’s leadership; developed a global TV and print advertising campaign. Also, Sony Ericsson tournaments have kicked off advocacy, awareness and fund-raising activities on behalf of the Partnership.Some of the resulting activities include a women-only night school programme in Liberia; a project to create a group of successful female politicians, business women and athletes in Cameroon; a project to raise the percentage of rural women involved in local affairs in China; and legal rights workshops to empower women in Jordan. 20 May 2009Russian tennis ace, Olympic bronze medallist and Grand Slam champion Vera Zvonareva was named today as a Promoter of Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).