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World Sailing unveils Steering the Course, a groundbreaking plan to champion gender equity

by World Sailing 29 May 09:54 PDT
World Sailing unveils Steering the Course © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport of sailing, is proud to announce the launch of Steering the Course, its pioneering plan to encourage more women to participate in every part of the sport.

With just 60 days to go to Paris 2024 - which is set to make history as the first #GenderEqualOlympics with full male and female parity on the field of play - Steering the Course, World Sailing's plan to support women in sailing, reaffirms the federation's global commitment to fostering inclusivity, accessibility and equity at every level of sailing.

Steering the Course outlines a vision for how the sport will look by 2032 and encompasses a wide range of initiatives and objectives across seven priority areas - Coaches, Instructors and Team Leaders; Race Officials; Participation; Para Inclusive Sailing; Events; Media, and Governance.

Between now and 2028, World Sailing aims to:

  • Achieve a target of 30% for women registered as coaches and support staff at the World Sailing Championships in 2026/27 (up from 18% at The Hague 2023).
  • Reach 35% women registered as coaches or team leaders at the 2026 Youth Sailing World Championships (up from 18% at Buzios 2023).
  • Secure 50% women attending World Sailing Technical Courses for Coaches during the 2025-2028 quadrennial (currently 42%).
  • Attain 50% representation for female race officials at the 2026/27 World Sailing Championships and at the LA28 Olympic Games, as well as as well as achieving 25% of registered women International Race Officials.

David Graham, World Sailing Chief Executive Officer, said, "Steering the Course, World Sailing's plan to support women in sailing, marks a significant milestone in the organisation's ongoing efforts to promote diversity and empowerment across all aspects of the sport.

"Launching this plan in the countdown to the Olympics holds particular significance, as attention turns to our athletes competing at what will be the largest, gender equal sporting event in the world."

Paris 2024 will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing events will be held by female officials.

"By championing gender equity and inclusivity, World Sailing aims to not only enhance the Olympic experience for all participants but also to point the way for a brighter, more diverse future for the whole sport and inspire lasting change for this and future generations throughout the sailing community and beyond," underlined Graham.

Fiona Kidd, World Sailing Head of International Development, added, "Steering the Course, World Sailing's plan to support women in sailing, embodies our unwavering dedication to promoting gender equity, accessibility, and empowerment within our sport. With a firm belief that gender should never be a barrier to participation or success, this plan aims to break down existing barriers and create a more inclusive environment where women and girls can thrive and excel."

Cat Duncan, World Sailing Development Manager is founder of the Steering the Course Festival, the federation's annual celebration of women in sailing which since 2021 has given opportunities to women in 45 countries to consider a pathway in sailing.

"We know from talking to women throughout the sailing community that World Sailing has a key role to play in setting the standards for gender equity in the sport," said Duncan.

"Now, Steering the Course - World Sailing's plan to support women in sailing - spells out what we, as the global governing body for the sport, are committed to achieving. However, making the sport more welcoming for more women is not something we can achieve on our own and we hope this document will encourage others in the sport to do similar."

World Sailing is also aiming to support the growth of female Board and Committee members by aiming for 50% female representation within the President and Vice President leadership group, currently at 37.5%, and 40% within World Sailing Committees and Commissions, which is currently at 33% and 35% respectively. These targets will be a key area of focus within the 2025-2028 term for World Sailing elected officials.

All of the targets set by World Sailing align with the recently published World Sailing Olympic Vision strategy and have been guided by the IWG Women & Sport Brighton and Helsinki Declaration, IOC Guidelines on Equality and Inclusion, and UN Women Sport for Generation Equality.

The World Sailing Women in Sailing Strategy is available to view and download on the World Sailing website.

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