In October 2007, at the annual meeting held in Cape Town, a presentation and workshop was held on gender parity. Out of this interactive workshop, the beginnings of a policy and strategic plan were formulated. This paper is the outcome.
In order to continue the vision of Dr Tom Waddell, the founder of the Gay Games movement, the following (paraphrased) quote allows for context and acts as a starting point.
“We are just as racist, ageist, sexist, nationalistic and chauvinistic as everybody else. It seems that somehow we have to make ourselves exemplary. How do we do that? Let’s use the same processes of self liberation that we learned through coming out to get at other issues. Let’s get at sexism issues. Let’s get at the ageism issue. Let’s make ourselves an exemplary community”.
The question of gender parity within the FGG and its member organizations needs to be addressed with a realistic approach . This process needs the involvement of everyone to ensure that gender equity becomes a reality and not just a question of paying lip service.
Much has been achieved since 1982 and now it is time to implement a strategic plan to move this forward.
The participation of women in the Gay Games and the board has hovered around 20-30%, with representation of women on the board somewhere between 15-20%.
The reasons for implementing a policy and strategic plan for women are:
- Women make up the largest underrepresented group
- Women are more than half the world’s population
- Women bring a distinct view of the world to the Federation
- Women often bring a different perspective and way of working that can benefit everyone
- Increasing the participation of women within the board and its members will attract more women’s involvement in the FGG and at the Gay Games
- To raise awareness of assembly members and the board of understanding the particular challenges that women face
- Acknowledgement of diversity of experience in first and developing countries, race and ethnicity
- Create good will and enable a desire to work on improving women’s involvement at all levels of the Federation. This includes the Board, the Assembly and member organizations .
The following points outline the gender parity policy:
- To increase the number of women in key positions
- To evaluate the possibility of setting quotas, targets and timeframes
- Develop a reward system for attaining such targets
- Build networks and support with and for high profile lesbian sports women
- Pursue the availability of sponsorship and endorsements for lesbian women
- Develop a list of visible role models and mentors
- Have equal media coverage for lesbian events and athletes
- Create a gender parity committee within the Federation with equal status as all other committees
- This committee to be added to the list of required committee space at all annual meetings.
- To develop and implement a marketing strategy for women
- To explore the possibility of including a gender parity specific budget with the FGG
- To have ongoing monitoring and evaluation of this policy.