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15 Sep 2017

Gender equality on the table at Women in Gymnastics Commission

Gender equality was at the centre of the discussions of the newly formed FIG Women in Gymnastics Commission, which held its first meeting in Lausanne this week.

While Gymnastics is one of the rare Olympic sports that enjoys greater popularity among women than among men, this doesn’t prevent large gender imbalances in some parts of the world, both in terms of participation and representation in the sport’s governing bodies.

In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, the Commission, chaired by Honorary Vice President Slava Corn (CAN), decided in June to launch a large survey among the 148 FIG member federations.

It received responses from 84 national federations spread over the five continents, ranging from small countries to very active federations and thereby providing a good sample of the current reality.

“We are pleased that so many national federations responded to the survey and we are now working on the results. We have a good photograph of women’s participation in the sport,” commented Ms. Corn, who will present survey-based conclusions at the Executive Committee meeting in February.

“It is not breaking news that the level of women’s participation in Gymnastics is higher than men’s. But now we will be able to explore the barriers and the obstacles women have been facing around the world when it comes to participating in Gymnastics,” she said.

The Commission, which also counts Jacqueline Weatherill (AUS), Anne Vierel√§ (FIN), Nuha Hattar(JOR), Valereis Geldenhuys Venter (NAM) and Cynthia Carrion (PHI) among its members, had profound discussions on ways to improve gender equality at different levels -- among athletes, judges, coaches and leaders -- and the reasons why it is important for the FIG to help women gain the skills needed to occupy leadership roles rather than simply encouraging parity.

The members of the Women in Gymnastics Commission are working on a strategic plan to develop a range of activities they would like to promote during the next three years.

These objectives are also in line with the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020, which has been conducting its own review among sports, striving to reach gender equity at the Olympic Games as well as in leadership positions inside the Olympic movement.