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World Triathlon among top-10 for governance practices, but Olympic sports woefully behind in gender equity

Only one International Federation surveyed has over 40 per cent women on its board, with 18 of the 31 federations at less than 25 per cent representation.

The good news is that World Triathlon was ranked amongst the top 10 in a governance review, but none of the 31 Olympic sport federations surveyed can boast equal representation of women on their boards.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) published its third governance review of its member federations, with World Triathlon finishing in the top 10 of the rankings.

The International Federations were asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire – 31 federations completed this review – which measured 50 indicators covering transparency, integrity, democracy, development and control mechanisms.

The Badminton World Federation topped the list, with the International Equestrian Federation, FIFA, the International Tennis Federation, the International Cycling Union and World Rugby all finishing in group A1, the highest tier.

World Triathlon finished in the second tier, A2, along with the International Basketball Federation, International Fencing Federation, International Table Tennis Federation, United World Wrestling, World Athletics, World Sailing and World Taekwondo, according to a report posted on the insidethegames.biz website.

Read the full report here.

Gender inequality the norm on federation boards

The review found that none of the federations reviewed could boast equal representation of men and women on their boards, with only one reporting over 40 per cent representation:

“As in 2017-18, only one IF had a board that was over 40% comprised by women; 12 IFs had boards between 25% and 40% female in composition, plus rules or a policy to encourage better gender balance – an increase on nine IFs at this level in 2018; for 10 IFs the proportion was between 15% and 25%; eight IFs had fewer than 15% of their board composed by women,” the report concluded.

A lack of term limits for executives seems to be a factor in the lack of gender diversity – nine of the 31 federations reported no term limits for elected officials. The report found that only “22 out of 31 IFs have some type of term limit in place for elected officials.”

While World Triathlon has a rich history of high-placed women on its board – the current president is Marisol Casado and current First Vice President has been an integral part of the ITU since its inception – it remains well short of equal representation at the board level. The current board includes just five women out of the 17 positions.

World Triathlon was considered “a role model for the publication of disciplinary decisions, the conflict of interests policies, the contracts with Continental Confederations for development funding, the monitoring of these expenses, the resources dedicated to Paralympic sport and data protection,” according to a release distributed by World Triathlon today.

“We are extremely proud of the results of this report, and the work, not only now but in the last few years, we have done in this regard within our Federation,” said Marisol Casado, World Triathlon President and IOC member. “Of course, there is always room for improvement, and we will work to be in the top group in the next edition of the report, but it is great to see that our policies and procedures are respected worldwide, and even considered a role model in some other IFs. And that couldn’t have been done without the commitment and the efforts of all the World Triathlon staff, that have been working tirelessly in the last years, and especially in the challenging circumstances that we are all facing lately with the pandemic.”