Praise for progress made on gender equity at diversity panel discussion

Dee Caffari reported on the past 12 months for the Trust. At the 2019 Annual Conference in Bermuda, the Trust revealed the findings of the Women in Sailing Strategic Review and outlined nine recommendations from the research. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the sport throughout this year, Caffari honestly reviewed the progress made with these recommendations.

Caffari also outlined the Trust’s future intentions. It will now focus on two specific areas; People and Environment. With People, the Trust will aim to promote diversity and inclusion, while Environment refers to the protection of the Earth’s waters.

She also shared some success stories from the Trust over the past 12 months, including the successful launch of the Educational Sustainability Materials, which has been released in eight languages so far, with six more planned. Twenty five MNAs are using the resources, as well as the Optimist Class Association, with plans also to adapt them for use by the International Kiteboarding Association.

The stand-out achievement this year, however, was that World Sailing became the first Olympic sport to sign the UN Women Sport for Generation Equality Declaration.

Jennifer Cooper praised World Sailing for their transparent reporting and for undertaking research in order to inform their decision-making, which she said was “essential” in order to effect large institutional change.

Irina Gladkikh talked about how the IOC’s Gender Equality and Review project demonstrated the need for clear goals, detailed timelines and measurable success.

Giving a perspective from another International Federation, Miguel Crespo outlined how far tennis had come in encouraging more women and girls to take up the sport, using female role models to inspire and also encouraging nations worldwide to develop their own gender equality strategy. Crespo revealed that he believed both tennis and sailing were in a similar position and on the correct path.

Rob Holden and Lindani Mchunu, who are both based in South Africa, gave a fascinating insight into sailing in emerging nations and developing countries. Holden outlined his belief that young sailors are most inspired by those on the ground who give up their time to help them develop and empower them to have the confidence to go far in life. Mchunu highlighted that these nations do indeed have talented young athletes and it is a case of elevating these success stories and connecting them to the international community. He also talked about the importance of engaging directly with local communities, instead of adopting a “helicopter approach” and “giving priority without authority or autonomy.”

Sally Barkow talked about what US Sailing are doing to affect change, including the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, while Dawn Riley highlighted the need to connect with grassroots sailing and the importance of representation amongst leadership.

Concluding an engrossing hour-long discussion, the panel also took questions from those watching live, and outlined their desire for anyone who wishes to help the World Sailing Trust as it strives to make a difference within the sport.

Please get in touch at contact@worldsailingtrust.org.