Together with decision-makers from more than 30 International Federations (IFs), Marijke Fleuren, European Hockey Federation President, FIH Executive Board member and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sport Commission joined in the third IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum, held on 28 March 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Organised jointly by the IOC and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the event focused on the , the sharing of best practices and new solutions to improve gender equality in sports leadership.
Marijke Fleuren participated in the panel discussion about electoral processes and strategies for a gender-balanced representation in governance bodies.
Hockey has a good story to tell. The sport is not only played by as many girls and women as by boys and men, but gender equality is also being embraced within the organisational structures.
FIH’s 16 person Executive Board now features seven women and nine men. At the last FIH Congress, member National Associations’ agreed to change the gender structure of the Board, which sees four men and four women now represented as Ordinary Board Members (the other members are the elected President, elected representatives of Continental Federations and of the Athletes’ Committee and the CEO).
Marijke Fleuren said: “Whilst numbers are significant, I find it more important to have an effective recruitment strategy, which is based on attention, time and inspiration. First, we, as decision-makers in International Federations need to be attentive to spot good candidates, for instance among umpires, officials, players and Continental and National Federations. Then, we need to approach them at the right moment and take the time to convince them to go for it. Finally yet importantly, we need to inspire those candidates. I am convinced we can only inspire if we are inspired ourselves, be it by the values of our sport, role models, amazing human stories, other volunteer initiatives and so on.”
Other sessions of the event looked at the topics of gender-neutral portrayal and meaningful inclusion in decision-making roles.
IOC President and HeforShe Champion, Thomas Bach, was also present and emphasised: “we need a two-way approach to make progress. We need on the one hand a top-down approach and other hand a bottom-up approach.” He expressed certainty that the recommendations of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project would help enact effective change.
As member of the IOC Women in Sport Commission, Marijke Fleuren was closely involved in the project of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project. Another FIH Executive Board member, Hazel Kennedy - also Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Zambia and President of the Zambia Hockey Association – was member of the IOC Working Group dedicated to the project.
Other FIH representatives who participated in the third IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum were FIH Executive Board member Danae Andrada, who is also The Pan-American Hockey Federation Executive Board Director, President of the Uruguayan Hockey Federation and the Director of the Uruguayan Sports Confederation, as well as FIH interim CEO Delf Ness.
Next year’s Forum will serve to assess the progress in implementing the Gender Equality Review recommendations.
Click to read the IOC news.
Click to read the ASOIF press release.