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29 Mar 2018

IFs discuss solutions for effective gender equality at leadership level


Decision-makers from over 30 International Federations (IFs) and more than 100 participants overall gathered at the third IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum, organised jointly by ASOIF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on 28 March 2018 in Lausanne. The focus of this year’s edition was on the IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project findings and recommendations, the sharing of best practices and new solutions to improve gender equality in sports leadership. In particular, the participants discussed the topics of electoral processes, gender-neutral portrayal and meaningful inclusion in decision-making roles.

ASOIF Executive Director Andrew Ryan, who kicked off the meeting, said on this occasion: “Today is about us embracing the new gender equality recommendations and applying them to each federation’s specific situation. We know this is complex. Every Federation is different, with a different historical, cultural and geographical context.” He added: “In my view, striving for gender equality within our organisations is interlinked with good governance. It is not about ticking any boxes, but about developing a favourable culture and then implementing certain principles consistently across all organisational policies and activities.”

IOC President and HeforShe Champion, Thomas Bach joined in the Forum and said he was certain that the recommendations of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project would help enact effective change. He outlined “We need a two-way approach to make progress: we need on the one hand a top down approach and other hands a bottom up approach.” He further explained what the IOC is doing to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, namely in IOC Commissions and IOC Memberships and how the partnership of IFs is crucial to overcome some of the barriers.

Several IFs were closely involved in the development of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project.

Marisol Casado, President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU), ASOIF Council Member, IOC Member and Chair of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project Working Group closed the Forum by urging all federations to implement the recommendations of the IOC’s Gender Equality Review and adapt the framework  to conduct an assessment for their own organisations. She also called on the participants to recognise gender equality as part of good governance and pass this message on to the National Federations as well as to develop mentorship programmes for women working both in volunteer and professional positions to ensure sustainability.

Next year’s Forum will serve to assess the progress in implementing the Gender Equality Review recommendations.
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