Design and implement a Gender Equality policy/strategy for the organisation; accordingly,
include leadership as one of the main pillars and SMART objectives in terms of gender targets.
In 2021, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) launched its Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2026 to promote gender equality within the organisation and its member federations' activities – at all levels. This has the ultimate aim to strive for better governance, gender sensitivity, as well as equal and diverse representation in decision-making. Accordingly, IBU’s Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2026 includes a series of set targets for each pillar; the “governance pillar” expressly states:
● 30% in applications for men and women to IBU Committees, Working Groups by 2022.
● A minimum of 30 % representation of one gender in the Executive Board and Technical Committee in 2026.
The recommended ratio for equal gender representation should be of 40%-60% for the organisations’ Executive Boards, Commissions and working groups, as well as among General Assembly delegates - with a progressive framework and set timeline depending on the organisation’s stage of readiness. Accordingly, amend statutes and by-laws to ensure adherence to equal gender representation – when equal representation refers to 40% - 60% of each gender.
World Athletics, in line with its 2016 Governance Structure Reform, implemented a progressive framework to reach gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions. The progressive framework sets specific targets within a set timeframe with the last aim being to reach 50% - 50% by the 2027 elections:
• At the 2019 election, there was a minimum target of seven men and women elected from among the total of 26 Council members (including 1 Vice President and 1 female and 1 male athlete representative). Following the 2019 election, there are currently eight women (30%) on the World Athletics Council.4
• At the 2023 election, there should be a minimum of 10 men and women elected from among the total of 26 Council members (including the 1 Vice President and 1 female and 1 male athlete representative, i.e. 40%)
• At the 2027 election, there should be 13 men and women on Council (including the 2 male and 2 female Vice Presidents, i.e. 50%)
Age quotas may support ensuring diversity in decision-making.
The recommended number of renewable mandates – term limits – should be a maximum of three terms of four years (i.e. 12 years overall) for leadership and decision-making positions such as presidents and secretaries general, executive board members and directors (among others).
In 2017, the Olympic Federation of Ireland, introduced term limits for Executive Committee members in its Constitution (art. 18-19). Each member can serve a maximum of two terms of four years, including transitional arrangements.
Set specific age limits for leadership and decision-making positions, as well as succession planning to encourage the continuity/legacies of the organisational leadership’s knowledge, priorities, and actions.
Safeguard equal gender representation across all committees/commissions; accordingly, ensure that roles and tasks are distributed equally among board/committee members to avoid executive roles (such as president) being taken by men and non-decision-making positions by women.
The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) has been extensively working on equal gender representation across all the committees/commissions both within the organisation and its member federations, as well as at the European level. In 2022, OFI’s member federations approved the 40% minimum of both genders on OFI’s board; subsequently, the same mechanisms for equal representation were implemented by the Athletes´ Commission. Ultimately, OFI has also supported the European Olympic Committees to implement equal5 representation mechanisms for its committees/commissions. Accordingly, the European Olympic Committee is implementing a Gender Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Strategy which includes changes in its Executive Committee’s election procedure to guarantee a more gender-balanced representation.
Appoint a commission/committee responsible for designing, overseeing, and monitoring gender equality objectives, aligned with the Gender Equality strategy/policy. The commission should have equal gender representation.
NOC Belgium appointed a “Gender Equity Commission” with the aim - among others - to improve the visibility of women’s sports via its platform “Empowering Women in Sports”. Accordingly, its basic mission is to identify obstacles to female participation in sports and to propose innovative solutions to improve the situation of gender equality.
Establish an election/nomination commission/committee with technical skills and knowledge to safeguard the transparency and impartiality of the elections/nominations related to leadership and decision-making positions. The commission should have equal gender representation.
Ensure that the job description for the available positions adopts a gender- sensitive language and clearly states the organisation’s commitment to equal gender representation.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) in its Gender Equality policy clearly states that “FIH wants to ensure that the creation of awareness of gender equality is not only about the numbers of female and male representatives but also about the (recruitment) processes”. Accordingly, it states that “Any breach of this policy in the form of discrimination, victimization or bullying whilst carrying out duties on behalf of FIH or otherwise acting as a representative of FIH shall result in disciplinary proceedings”.
Set up clear and transparent recruitment including mixed review and interview panels procedures – with equal gender representation of personnel from human resources, as well as external experts with gender equality knowledge and training on “unconscious bias”.
In 2019, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) obtained the EDGE Move certification for gender equity – becoming the first world sports governing body to achieve this. The EDGE certification for gender equity involves a rigorous third-party review of representation across the pipeline, equal pay, effectiveness of policies and practices, and inclusiveness of an organisation’s culture. As an integral part of the assessment, employees receive a comprehensive survey to assess perceptions of gender equity in the workplace. Accordingly, UCI procedures in terms of recruitment and equal pay - among others - go through the regular EDGE Assessment, the initial independent validation and benchmark of an organisation’s commitment, to identify the6 progress made to reach the set standard (i.e. increasing the number of women in management positions, and further leveraging third-party expertise to evaluate internal policies and procedures to remove gender bias). Currently, women represent between a quarter and a third of members across the UCI Management Committee, UCI Commissions, and continental executive committees.
Ensure that the information about the available positions is actively advertised/communicated across organisational channels (i.e. online and offline means), publicly available channels, and women’s networks.
The NOC of the Netherlands created a “Diversity Charter” and encouraged the National Federations to sign the Charter; accordingly, 26 National Federations signed up for the Charter to promote more diversity in sports.
Set procedures to ensure that available positions are re-advertised if no women are shortlisted in the recruitment. Accordingly, stimulate accountability by requiring written justifications for recruitment and promotion shortlists that do not include women.
Since 2020, the English Football Association has set specific procedures for tackling inequality across senior leadership positions, team operations and coaching roles. Notably, shortlists for interviews must have at least one male and one female candidate (when applicants meeting the job specifications apply). Accordingly, procedures are in place to obtain further justifications on the limiting factors for which the recruitment targets in terms of gender equality and diversity have not been met (i.e. within the end-year report). Subsequently, it is expected to use the data collected from the process to improve their recruitment in subsequent years.
Consider the relevance of adopting policies that embrace a family-friendly and flexible work approach.
Implement recruitment procedures that encourage diversity and do not discriminate against applicants with career breaks or non-traditional career paths.
Create a pipeline with candidates who could fulfil leadership and decision-making roles. The pipeline should be enriched with alumni from educational programmes, training courses, and mentorship initiatives organised and followed by the organisation (among others).