The fourth IOC World Conference on Women and Sport in Jordan concluded on Monday with a strong action plan.
The more than 600 participants from 116 different countries were in Jordon for the conference, which was held under the theme of "Sport as a vehicle for social change". Luissa SMITH, Head of the Training and Development Department at the ISAF Secretariat, represented ISAF at the Conference, whilst Fiona KIDD (CAN), chair of the ISAF Women's Forum, and ISAF Council Member Nazli IMRE (TUR) were also both in attendance as part of delegations from their National Olympic Committees. Another sailing representative in Jordon was triple Olympic medallist Barbara KENDALL
(NZL), who attended in her role as a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission.
By the end of the conference the participants agreed unanimously and committed themselves to a future strategy which focuses on actions in five specific areas:
- Seize upcoming opportunities to promote gender equality
- Empowerment through Education and Development
- Women, Sport and the Media
- Women, Sport and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Mainstreaming The Cause
The Olympic Games in Beijing, upcoming elections of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the Olympic Congress in 2009 and the Youth Olympic Games were defined as key opportunities to advance the cause of girls and women in and through sport. It is about mainstreaming girls' and women's participation in decision-making bodies, events and topical discussions. For instance, the conference participants requested the Chairperson of the IOC Women and Sport Commission to propose to the 120th IOC Session in August 2008 the mandatory requirement for all NOCs to have women on their executive committees, and that this be an enforceable requirement.
Within the field of governance, it was emphasised that key performance indicators should be set by the IOC in order to provide guidance to the Olympic Movement and monitor progress against the set targets. The much needed networking of women in the Olympic Movement could be facilitated through the IOC website. The predominant female conference participants also noted the need for men in decision-making positions to participate in women and sport forums. Delegations attending policy-making forums should be gender based.
ISAF has a clear focus on increasing women's representation across all areas and levels of the sport. The Athens Olympic Games saw women's participation in Olympic sailing hit a new benchmark of 35% of the athlete quota (137 of 400 competitors), a level that will be maintained in 2008. ISAF has as taken steps to match this level of gender representation in the governance of the sport. Currently there are women members on all ISAF Committees, and ISAF has introduced guidelines for 20% of the members of each committee and 15% of the Chairmen and vice-chairmen of all committees being drawn from each gender.
Click here to read the full Plan of Action from the conference.
IOC World Conference on Women and Sport - www.olympic.org/jordanconference
ISAF Women's microsite - www.sailing.org/women