Round-the-world sailing veteran Dee Caffari opened the Gender Balance: A Case for Change forum at World Sailing’s annual conference in Bermuda yesterday (Monday 28 October) with a call for key decision makers present to create positive change for women in sailing and tackle gender-based discrimination.
“We can no longer tick the box for the subjects of inclusion and diversity,” she told the gathering. “Diversity is a given and inclusion is an act and from the evidence, we need to act. Action can start right here in Bermuda with the key decision makers here.
“If we want our sport to progress and move forwards, then we need to consider 50% of the population otherwise we are going to be left behind and we might not like to hear it but deep down we all know it.”
World Sailing Trust chair Caffari was leading the presentation of its Women in Sailing Strategic Review, which noted that 59% of women and 14% of men have experienced gender based discrimination in sailing and that it is a global issue that happens at all ages.
It was also reported that discrimination occurs across all classes of sailing, with 71% experiencing it in multihulls, 64% in keelboats and 58% in dinghies, and that there is often stereotyping and a lack of opportunities for female sailors.
Ten recommendations were put forward on how to address gender balance in sailing and range from a gender charter, engagement of events and venues as well as implementing programmes for coaching, talent fast tracking and Olympic career transitioning.