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1 April 2002, 08:47 am
On Women in Sailing
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Paul Henderson Speaks

Over the years I have often grappled with how to properly position Women in Sailing both competitively and administratively.
I have always come to the position that I do not support women as an absolute but support their involvement because it promotes all of sailing for if the Women are involved the Men and Youth will also be there.

In 1988 ISAF obtained a separate class for women in the Olympics.

I agonised over whether this was good for sailing to segregate sailors by gender.

After much debate it became clear that if we did not give women their separate event they would not get Member National Authority (MNA) and government support or funding for Women's Sailing in most of our 130 countries.

Since that time ISAF has been able to obtain 4 events of 11 in the Olympic Games for women and raised the total participation from 19% in Savannah to a guaranteed over 35% in Athens.

Personally I am a strong supporter of having at least one mixed doubles event as that would send a strong message that we are for Men and Women competing together but that is for another time

ISAF must now face up to the fact that there are not enough women appointed to the ISAF Executive Committee and to Council. ISAF must get at least 20% on each governing body. As offensive as it is, unless ISAF decrees this happens reality says it will not. I will therefore propose that for 2004 the following guidelines be initiated.

ISAF Executive Committee
That two of the seven Executive be women. There is now only one.

ISAF Council
There are 39 delegates and there should be at least 8 women. There are now 4.

Member National Authorities are represented by "Groups".
They will be asked to appoint from their allocation as follows:

Area/Groups - Women Now - Women Proposed - Total Seats
Executive - 1 - 2 - 7
Europe - A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H - 1 - 3 - 15
Americas - M,N,0, P - 1 - 2 - 7
Asia - I,J,K - 0 - 0 - 4
Oceania/Africa - Q,L - 0 - 0 - 3
Others - 1 - 1 - 3
Totals - 4 - 8 - 39

The one women in the "others" is a delegate elected by the women to represent directly their interests on Council and that person should be appointed cognisant of this responsibility.

I trust that ISAF Council will positively address this proposal and that the Groups will look ahead and nominate to Council in 2004 the minimum number of women suggested.

Paul Henderson
Paul Henderson/ISAF Secretariat
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