FISU round table on gender equality in sports
FISU (International University Sports Federation) organized a round table on gender equality in sports on 14th August, during summer universiade in Shenzhen, China. FISU´s women´s committee invited international sports federations to discuss women´s positions in their organizations and also the opportunities for cooperation. Participants of the round table came from three different sport federations: archery, badminton and athletics, in addition to FISU women´s committee and FISU liaison people representing different continents.
At the beginning of the session FISU President George E. Killian signed the Brighton Declaration. Finnish Student Sport Federations secretary general Hilkka Laitinen conveyed the greetings of IWG co-chair Raija Mattila to the meeting. After that, the FISU and the guest federations gave presentations about their organizations and their situation with regard to gender equality. All noted that the situations in the respective sports federations are quite similar. In competitions, women are well represented. However, women´s representation in leading positions is much weaker. Only a few women are executive committee members, and this situation does not seem to be progressing.
Ideas for changing the situation were discussed and leadership programs from different federations were brought in to discussion as exemplars. Experiences from these programs were good and it was agreed that one way to encourage and empower women should be through mentor programs. After having a conversation about quotas, all agreed that it would make women feel they are chosen only because of their gender, not their capabilities. It was also agreed that much more grassroots work needs to be done in the national federations to get more female candidates elected to leading positions. One option could be to create guidelines for National Universtiy Sport Federations to start their equality work.
FISU founded its women´s committee in 2007, and since then it has pioneered FISU´s work on gender issues. In Shenzhen, the General Assembly changed the committees´ name to the ‘Gender Equality Committee'. The Committee is currently being chaired by Dr Verena Burk, FISU Assessor.
Text: Hilkka Laitinen
More information: http://www.fisu.net/en/Accueil-950.html