ALICANTE, Spain, May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — 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 round-the-world sailing fleet within the next three editions of the Race, building on its historical leadership position that has seen 136 women take part in the event since 1973.
The move aims for an equal number of men and women competing across the event, whether this is achieved through mixed crews or all-female teams. It is part of an unparalleled collaboration in sailing, with leading sustainability, diversity and sailing organisations, The Ocean Race, World Sailing Trust, The Magenta Project and PA Consulting, which builds on existing initiatives and introduces new pathways to open up sailing to women and young people.
Horizon, which encompasses roles across the sport – including sailors, boat builders, coaches, umpires and race officials – is launching following in-depth analysis of the state of gender equality in professional sailing by PA Consulting. The consultancy found major barriers, bias and systemic issues that limit female participation in the sport.
The insights echo the World Sailing Trust’s 2019 Strategic Review into Women in Sailing, which revealed that 80% of women and 56% of men think that gender equality is an issue in sailing, with 59% of women, compared with 14% of men, saying they had experienced gender discrimination.
Working together, the collaborators aim to change perception and improve routes into the industry for women. The Ocean Race will create a roadmap for action, which will feature new and existing initiatives that will be supported by the collaborators. The actions will include recommendations from the World Sailing Trust Strategic Review, such as:
- A fast-track leadership programme to create a pipeline of female leaders across the sport
- equality design working group made up of boat designers, manufacturers, technical specialists and female sailors
- A diversity and inclusion working group, led by World Sailing Trust
The Ocean Race will also provide shadowing opportunities across race management and, with The Magenta Project, develop a women and youth mentoring programme specific to The Ocean Race. PA Consulting will create an equality assessment tool to help the sailing industry measure where they are now and where they can improve, along with a series of roundtables that will follow progress across the industry.
Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Director at The Ocean Race said: "Female competitors in The Ocean Race include Olympic gold medallists and world-record breakers. Powerful role models and ambassadors, but for many, their journey to the top has been fraught with challenges, simply because they are female. Not only are women missing out on opportunities, the profession is also missing out on the skills, strength and talent that they bring to the table. Sailing can secure its reputation, and its future, by coming together as an industry. We need to build bridges, not work in silos."
SOURCE The Ocean Race