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IFSC Announces Gender Equality Roundtable

On March 12, the IFSC will host a Virtual Roundtable Event to discuss gender equality in all levels of the Sport Climbing Industry

Photo by: Eddie Fowke of Alannah Yip

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has announced plans for a Women of the Wall, a virtual roundtable event. The live discussion will focus on gender equality in climbing both as a sport and an industry.

Women of the Wall

As event leader, the IFSC Secretary General, Debra Gawrych, will help the roundtable unpack the prejudices and stereotypes that surround women in sport. With a goal of gender equality on all levels, Gawrych hopes to help progress the roles of women in sport.

According to the press release, the IFSC said that they have always worked to ensure gender equality. Though the IFSC does better than most other Olympic Federations, it still falls short of the 50% distribution that would describe an equal work space for men and women.

To combat this issue, Gawrych will join Shauna Coxsey, the founder of the Women’s Climbing Symposium. In conjunction with other industry leaders, these women will open the floor to questions from the audience.

Along with Gawrych and Coxsey, participants include Lena Drapella, Tamaris Higham, Takako Hoshi, Dr. Constance Lightner, Tazu Mori, and Katja Vidmar. Their industries include photography communications, coaching, business and more. As the IFSC’s Chief Routesetter, Vidmar offers a unique perspective into a growing industry. Today, Vidmar is one of two female routesetters that has worked on the international circuit.

Gawrych feels honoured to launch this initiative and looks forward to a successful roundtable.

“The platform that we will host the event on will give viewers an opportunity to participate in the roundtable by asking questions and making comments, and I warmly invite followers to do so.”

To participate in the discussion, tune into the livestream hosted on Facebook and YouTube.

IOC Commitment to Gender Equality

While the IFSC works to provide a more equitous space for female athletes and industry employees, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made strides toward the first equal Olympic Games.

This is important considering the inappropriate comments made by Tokyo 2020 President Mori. In response, the IOC has doubled-down on equity. This sentiment appeared in a list of decisions that separated the Tokyo 2020 from previous competitions.

Among these changes, the some exciting alteration have occurred at the industry level. Female representation on the Executive Board stands at 33.3%. This is better than the pre-2020 value of 26.6%. To that effect, female IOC membership is up from 21% to 37.5%.

While these numbers need to grow, this effort is a step forward for the industry. While Olympic Federations and the IOC  redesign their frameworks, the world awaits an unprecedented Olympic Games.



Lead photo: Eddie Fowke of Alannah Yip