|2010 Tom Waddell Award winner Sara Waddell Lewinstein was recognized largely for her contributions to gender equity in the Gay Games|
In October 2008, at the annual meeting held in Cape Town (see Annex 1), 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 over the last 27 years 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 GG
- 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
- To put forward a motion to have this policy and strategic plan accepted and adopted at the next annual meeting to be held in Cologne, Germany September 2009.
- Increase the number of women in key positions
- 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
- Strive for equal media coverage for lesbian events and athletes
- Create a gender parity committee within the Federation with equal status as all other committees
- Provide meeting space and time slots for this committee at all annual meetings
- Develop and implement a marketing strategy for women
- Explore the possibility of including a gender parity specific budget with the FGG
- Continue ongoing monitoring and evaluation of this policy
- A female keynote speaker be identified for the annual meetings whenever possible
- Scholarships awarded for attendance at annual meetings be prioritized for women
- In conjunction with Games Cologne, a Women’s space be made available at the games in 2010 and that publicity of this space be put on in a prominent position on the GC website
- That there be a large presence women on the FGG website
- Of the 5 “officer at large position available on the board, 2 be reserved for women
- Review the election schedule of the existing 2 female board positions
- The current by Laws be reviewed for gender quality by 2 volunteers from the BOD and Vice President Diversity
- A mentor program for women be developed in conjunction with the assembly organizations
- This strategic policy be reviewed by the board and the assembly on an annual basis
Motion 1 – Gender Parity
a) FGG encourages all organisations with mixed membership (both men and women) to implement gender parity in their respective boards and report on their progress during the year to the Membership Committee and at every Annual Meeting.
b) FGG encourages member clubs with mixed membership (both men and women) to name delegates to the FGG that enhance the gender parity (equal representation of men and women) of FGG Assembly members and include a progress report to the Membership committee. Membership materials should be updated to reflect this statement.
c) FGG continue to include references to gender parity in its contracts with Host Cities; specifically, the Board should recommend Host Cities to ensure gender parity in all website and printed matter images, and it should encourage gender parity in the composition of the Host organizing committee/board, as well as in the Gay Games participants. The Host City should include a progress report concerning this request in its reports to the Board.
d) FGG include these recommendations on FGG website and in membership materials.
Motion 2 – Gender Parity Policies
Move that the FGG Membership Committee work with the Assembly and Board to develop policies that will lead to equal representation of men and women on the board, and that the proposed policies be discussed during 2008 and be presented for a vote at or before the 2008 Annual Meeting.