By The Ocean Race/Press Release
The Ocean Race, the world’s toughest test of a team in sport, is aiming for a 50/50 split of women and men competing in the around the world sailing fleet over the next three editions of the race, building on its historic leadership position which has seen 136 women compete in the event since 1973.
The move aims to ensure that an equal number of men and women compete throughout the event, whether achieved by mixed crews or all-female teams. It is part of an unprecedented collaboration in sailing, with leading organizations in sustainability, diversity and sailing, The ocean race, World Sailing Trust, the Magenta project and sound advicewhich builds on existing initiatives and opens up new avenues to open the sail for women and young people.
Horizon, which encompasses roles across the whole of the sport – including sailors, boat builders, coaches, referees and race officials – is being launched following a thorough analysis of the state of the gender equality in professional sailing by PA Consulting. The consultancy, which specializes in innovation and transformation, interviewed key industry stakeholders and uncovered the key barriers, biases and systemic issues that limit women’s participation in sport.
Interviewed Dee Caffarifirst woman to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop in both directions, two-time competitor in The Ocean Race and President of the World Sailing Trust, said: “We all naturally trust the people we’re used to sailing with, so it’s hard to fit into a team. No matter the wind and the waves who you are, male or female, you are a sailor.
This information echoes the World Sailing Trust’s 2019 strategic review of women in sailing, which found that 80% of women and 56% of men believe gender equality is an issue in sailing, with 59 % of women vs. 14% of men who say they have experienced gender discrimination.
Working together, The Ocean Race, The Magenta Project, PA Consulting and World Sailing Trust aim to change perceptions and improve pathways into the industry for women. The Ocean Race will create a roadmap for action, which will showcase new and existing initiatives that will be supported by collaborators. Actions will include recommendations from the World Sailing Trust Strategic Review, such as:
- A fast lane leadership program to create a pool of women leaders in sport
- Equality Design Working Group composed of boat designers, builders, technical specialists and sailors
- A diversity and inclusion working groupled by the World Sailing Trust
The Ocean Race will also offer viewing opportunities through race management, with volunteers from local clubs in each host city where the race stops, and, together with Project Magenta, will develop awmentorship program for women and youth specific to The Ocean Race. PA Consulting will create a equality assessment tool to help the sailing industry measure where it is and where it can improve, as well as a series of panel discussions that will monitor industry progress.
All stakeholders will also sign the Charter of UN Women, Sport for Generation Equality, a powerful coalition of multi-sport actors aiming to advance gender equality through sport.
Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainable Development Director of The Ocean Race said: “The female competitors of The Ocean Race include Olympic gold medalists and world record breakers. They are powerful role models and ambassadors, but for many their journey to the top has been rocky, simply because that they are women. Not only are women missing out on opportunities, but the profession is also missing out on the skills, strength and talent that they bring to the table. Sailing can secure its reputation and future by coming together as as an industry. We need to build bridges, not work in silos.
The Ocean Race is an industry leader in supporting women in sport, with more women competing in the event than in any other sailing competition outside of the Olympics. The Race is the only other major international sporting event where men and women compete in the same team on an equal footing, with 136 women entered in the race since 1973, including 12 in the first edition. In the 2017-18 edition of the race, new rules were introduced which gave teams a major incentive to include women as well as men, a policy which will continue in the 2022-23 race and will see women participate. with a significant role in each team. .
Dee Caffari, Chairman of the World Sailing Trust, said: “Research by the World Sailing Trust in 2019 showed some pretty stark numbers on the state of gender equality in sailing. PA Consulting research has since confirmed that while there is progress, the sport needs to work much harder and more collaboratively, if we are to bring about change.It will take top events in our sport, like The Ocean Race, to keep the dial for equality turning. is exactly how we need to work, so that as a sport we can better collaborate and address these key issues, and begin to level the playing field. Aim to increase opportunities and participation levels for female athletes.
Jonquil Hackenberg, Chairman of The Magenta Project, a charity dedicated to gender parity and diversity in competitive sailing, and Head of Sustainability at PA Consulting, said: “Sailing is one of the less diverse sports and that needs to change. This collaboration is an essential step towards that and has the potential to forever change the face of sailing and make it a sport that others can look to and learn from. The power of this collaboration is that it brings strengths to the fore where strengths don’t need to be physical. With a tangible set of recommendations and collaboration through which we at Project Magenta can provide actionable pathways for aspiring ocean runners, the initiatives focus on the entire ecosystem of the sport, which is the only way to truly embed meaningful and lasting change.
IMOCA, one of the two classes of yachts that will take part in the next edition of The Ocean Race alongside the VO65 class, has expressed its support for Horizon. IMOCA President Antoine Mermod said: “While we see more women in sailing, there is still a long way to go to make the sport truly equal for women and men. We would particularly like to see more women become skippers and take on other leading roles. in the industry, so we’re excited to see a collaboration that aims to make the sport more accessible to women.The Ocean Race has been a pioneer in this area, we look forward to supporting their ambition to make the event equal.
Helping create pathways for women in sailing is the first step in The Ocean Race’s diversity and inclusion program, which aims to make the event and the industry more accessible to everyone. Diversity and inclusion is part of The Ocean Race’s “Racing with Purpose” sustainability program, which was created with 11th hour racea privileged partner of The Ocean Race, and is dedicated to improving the health of the ocean.
*Statistic taken from the World Sailing Trust’s 2019 Strategic Review of Women in Sailing