Source: Gwenda Stevens

Rowing part of women in sport leadership

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The participation of women in the Olympic Games has increased over the past few Games and with that a focus on women in sport leadership roles is being examined.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) together with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) are holding the International Federations Women in Leadership Forum. The World Rowing Federation, FISA is proud to announce that Gwenda Stevens, the President of the Royal Belgian Rowing Federation and Ola Oluodebunmi, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Rowing Federation have been chosen as participants.

The IOC has targeted the number of women in leadership roles throughout the world of sport before with a 20 per cent goal by 2005. This objective was not met. The IOC and ASOIF recognised that training and support was needed with the inclusion of National and International Federations. Two qualified women from each sports federation were selected.

At the Forum, participants will learn more about how to best reach their maximum potential as leaders within the Olympic Movement.  The event will feature presentations and discussions from Marisol Casado the President of the International Triathlon Union and Claudia Bokel from the IOC Executive Board and the IOC Athletes Commission.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President and HeForShe Ambassador, will open a Women’s Day Celebration evening on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day. A presentation by world renowned author and sociologist, Michal Kimmel will follow.  FISA Vice- President and President of Canadian Olympic Committee, Tricia Smith will take part in a panel discussion with leadership from the ASOIF Executive as well as other International Federation and Olympic Movement leaders.

Annamarie Phelps, Chair of British Rowing and Jacomine Ravensburgen, Chair of the FISA Women’s Commission will also take part. FISA Continental Representative, José Quinones will discuss the challenges and opportunities for encouraging more women in leadership in the Americas and world-wide.

One of the priorities of the International Federations that came out of a recent ASOIF Forum was to have support from the IOC to better recruit and create channels for female leaders. This goes in line with the IOC’s Agenda 2020, recommendation 38, to create “a targeted recruitment process for the IOC Members” as well as supporting further gender equality, where International Federations and National Olympic Committees will aim to further develop current and future high potential female candidates.

The IOC has an existing programme to help high potential female leaders but this is the first time that the International Federations have had this opportunity to benefit from the experience.  FISA is very excited about this opportunity and the benefits for the rowing members who will take part in the Forum.

Report courtesy of World Rowing