IBU holds ground-breaking Gender Equality Seminar

IBU holds ground-breaking Gender Equality Seminar

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) held its first ever Gender Equality in Sports Leadership Seminar in Warsaw, Poland, this weekend. The Seminar focused on how to enable women with the ambition and the capacity to lead to start developing mechanisms for achieving their career goals in biathlon through a higher level of gender equality.

Over 40 participants from 34 countries participated in the three-day Seminar which combined presentations from expert speakers with interactive discussions. 

“Gender equality is one of the most important challenges we face. We want to make the women in our sport more visible. The aim of this Seminar is to exchange experiences and create a network that will help us to inspire each other and the next generation of female leaders in biathlon,” said IBU Executive Board Member Dr Dagmara Gerasimuk, the organiser of the conference.

Among the expert speakers was Zbigniew Waskiewicz, professor at the Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, who presented the results of a questionnaire for National Federations and athletes, which he had developed for the Seminar. Results showed that there is still an unequal representation of women among chair persons (15%), executive board members (22%) and coaching staff (21%) within the National Federations.

IBU holds ground-breaking Gender Equality Seminar

IBU President Olle Dahlin said:

“We know that when it comes to the sport we have a great balance, but we have to do more to promote gender equality when it comes to the boards, coaching and technical staff. We are committed to this and we will certainly include the respective points in our new IBU Constitution and Strategic Plan.”

Delegates agreed that biathlon is gender equal on the field of play with equal participation, equal pay and equal media coverage. However, the Seminar participants postulated that to move towards greater equality in biathlon’s leadership the number of female delegates at the IBU Congress needs to be increased , a gender equality policy has to be developed and a platform of communication, which will help monitor the progress, needs to be created. Both President Dahlin and Gerasimuk emphasized their support to continue to organize Gender Equality Seminars.

During the conference, participants heard an update on the implementation of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project which was presented by Irina Gladkikh, Associate Director of Winter & Recognised Sports and IF Relations. The female National Biathlon Federation Presidents discussed ways forward and how they could use their positions as a platform to empower and inspire others. There were also speakers from other International Federations, the academic world and business who presented different aspects towards diversifying leadership in sport.

(Pictures by Michał Ostrowski)