Brock partners with Biathlon Canada to improve gender equity in sport – The Brock News

A collaboration between Biathlon Canada and Brock University is leading to impactful change in gender equity within the National Sport Organization (NSO).

Through Brock’s Center for Sport Ability, Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michele Donnelly worked with Biathlon Canada to conduct a gender equity audit focused on all aspects of the organization, including its members and its governance.

The project is linked to the federal government’s goal of achieving gender equity in Canadian sport by 2035. The government’s 2018 budget allocated funds to Sport Canada to support gender equity projects. gender, which has impacted NSOs like Biathlon Canada.

“Decisions are made and policies and practices are implemented, but many organizations do not have baseline data and therefore cannot accurately or effectively assess whether or not their efforts are resulting in positive change,” Donnelly said . “Biathlon Canada is truly a leader in this area; I do not know of any other NSO that has undertaken a gender audit in this form.

Biathlon Canada CEO Heather Ambery said it was important to her and others to hire a third party to look at the organization with a “gentle but critical lens.”

“We were looking for a professional with expertise in data analysis and in-depth knowledge of gender equity in sport to help us assess whether we are doing a good job in this area and offer recommendations on what we we can do better,” she said.

By analyzing nine years of data on Biathlon Canada’s membership, which includes athletes, officials, coaches and volunteers from provincial and territorial clubs, Donnelly identified trends and where Biathlon Canada can begin to measure future success. .

According to his assessment, Biathlon Canada athletes are still made up of 40 percent women, across all age groups.

“This is quite strong for an NSO and reflects an organization that has made real commitments to increase women’s participation,” she said.

Donnelly supplemented the quantitative data with interviews with athletes, officials and coaches about their experiences with biathlon and their understanding of Biathlon Canada’s commitment to gender equity. She also reviewed the organization’s website and policies.

She has since made several evidence-based recommendations to Biathlon Canada, which have already led to improvements in gender equity. One of the recommendations was to formalize quotas for gender representation on the board of directors.

“Studies have shown that commitments to gender equity are most effective when they are institutionalized in policy,” Donnelly said. “A policy means that progress towards gender equity is more intentional and conscious. »

Prior to the audit, Biathlon Canada’s board of directors was made up of approximately 35 percent women. Today, women make up 60 percent.

“Our members voted unanimously in favor of a policy change that states that a maximum of 60 percent of the same gender identity can make up the composition of the board of directors,” Ambery said.

Biathlon Canada is also working to change public perception of women in biathlon. More than a dozen new profiles of female athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and supporters tell the stories of how and why they got involved in biathlon, and new photographs challenge gender stereotypes.

“We often see photos of men demonstrating strength and endurance, while women hug or pat each other on the back,” Ambery said. “We intentionally want to photograph women filling all roles in biathlon and participating in the sport in a manner equivalent to their male counterparts.”

Next steps for Biathlon Canada include working with provincial and territorial biathlon organizations to implement their own gender equity-focused practices and procedures, and continuing the use of equity auditing gender to inform decisions at national and local levels.

“The work in this space is never really done,” Ambery said. “We are committed to maintaining and improving gender equity in our programs and initiatives, and thank Dr. Donnelly and the Center for Sport Capacity at Brock University for starting us off on the right foot.

Alec Dittman

"Web specialist. Social media ninja. Amateur food aficionado. Alcohol advocate. General creator. Beer guru."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *