By James K. Attaglo Wilson
In an attempt to ensuring gender parity ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland [Australia], the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] has ensured that central features of its Gender Equality Strategy have been implemented.
The features are: gender parity of technical officials, gender parity in medal events, and the implementation of women’s coaching internship programme.
Gender Parity of Technical Officials
The International Federations for Basketball, Hockey and Swimming have confirmed that, for the first time ever, at least 50% of their technical officials presiding over the sporting action at Gold Coast 2018 will be women. The announcement supports the collective mission of the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF], the Gold Coast 2018 Organising Corporation [GOLDOC] and its international sporting stakeholders to ensure the upcoming edition of the Commonwealth Games in Australia are the most gender-equal multi-sports event in history.
Louise Martin CBE, President of the CGF said: “Across the Commonwealth Sports Movement, there is a fundamental responsibility and exciting opportunity to redress the imbalances for women and girls in sport, leadership and society as a whole. I thank and congratulate our committed partners at FIBA, FIH and FINA who are leading the way to ensure a level-playing field for women technical officials at Gold Coast 2018. The CGF is also thrilled that so many other sports have made such positive strides to ensure that more women than ever before preside over sports officiating and judging at the Commonwealth Games”.
The largest jump in female technical officials comes in Rugby Sevens, which will see the number of women officiating at Gold Coast’s Robina Stadium increase to 33% compared to 5% at Glasgow 2014*.
A number of other sports have also achieved major progress with significantly more women represented across their pool of technical officials.
Wrestling has increased its number of female technical officials from 13% to 32%, whilst increases for other sports include: Lawn Bowls from 28% to 42%; Rhythmic Gymnastics from 86% to 100%; Badminton from 32% to 41%; Triathlon from 33% to 42%; Weightlifting from 34% to 43%; Para Powerlifting from 32% to 39%; Table Tennis from 26% to 32%; and Boxing from 13% to 18%.
As another key component of the Gender Equality Strategy, the number of men officiating at Diving, Netball and Artistic Gymnastics will also increase from 28% to 41%, 21% to 28% and 47% to 53% respectively. The strategy also recognizes that longer-term partnerships will be required to develop and ensure the availability of more women technical officials across many sports within the Commonwealth, particularly from smaller nations and territories.
Gender Parity in Medal Events
As part of a far-reaching gender equality strategy, the CGF has already approved seven additional women’s event categories to the Gold Coast 2018 sports programme to ensure, for the first time ever, that men and women compete for an equal number of medals [133 women’s events; 133 men’s events; 9 mixed/open events].
The strategy, launched at the 2016 CGF General Assembly in Edmonton, Canada, strives to ensure that women and girls are equally represented, recognized and served across all areas of the Commonwealth Sports Movement.
Peter Beattie, Chairman of GOLDOC said: “GOLDOC is committed to ensuring that GC2018 is the most inclusive Commonwealth Games in history. I can proudly say that all games partners have worked closely to make sure this commitment extends beyond the field to encompass operational and partner-delivered programs.
We believe that our unwavering commitment to gender equality is a core value that differentiates The Commonwealth Games from other international movements.”
Mark Peters, Chief Executive Officer of GOLDOC said:
“GC2018 will be a games of many firsts including for the first time offering equal medals for women and men. We hope that the work undertaken as part of our planning for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games builds momentum globally and we see future events follow suit.
While we believe these changes are well overdue, GOLDOC is still proud that it will be GC2018 that helps reshape female recognition in sport.”
Women’s Coaching Internship Programme
The CGF has also implemented its Women Coaching Internship Programme for Gold Coast 2018. A central part of the CGF’s Gender Equality Strategy, the Women’s Coaching Internship Programme will help build women’s coaching capacity across the Commonwealth, and in turn stand to benefit athletes from all Commonwealth countries and territories.
Under the innovative programme, Commonwealth Games Associations [CGAs], in partnership with one of their National Sports Organizations [NSOs], will have the opportunity to fully integrate an aspiring female coach in their Gold Coast 2018 coaching team. As such, the CGF has reserved 20 quota positions and travel grants for the programme at the Games.
David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive Officer of the CGF said:
“The Women’s Coaching Internship Programme is an essential component of the Gender Equality Strategy that the CGF Executive Board approved in 2016 during the Commonwealth’s year of celebrating and recognizing inclusivity.
“Sport has made inroads in recent years with the expansion of opportunities for women in sport, but a representation-based approach is not enough; and that is why the Commonwealth Sport Movement is leading the way in properly and actively engaging women in all aspects of sport Commonwealth-wide.
The CGF will continue to develop and implement positive and bold new initiatives that create a level playing field for girls and women in sport,” he added.
In addition to the recruitment of technical officials, equality of medal opportunities and promotion of coaching opportunities, the CGF Gender Equality Strategy supports and influences the participation and representation of women and girls across broadcast and media, marketing initiatives, volunteering and governance at the 2018 Games and beyond.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4-15.
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