Focus on pathways for Oceania women as coaches and technical officials

Women in Oceania aspiring to be coaches or technical officials will benefit from increased efforts by the Oceania National Olympic Committees’ (ONOC) Equity Commission to establish pathways to bridge the gender gap.

According to Helen Brownlee, Chair of the ONOC Equity Commission; “The Oceania focus is informed by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Gender Equality and Inclusion Report 2021, which presented gender milestones and progress both on and off the field of play from the previous Olympiad; 2017 to 2020.”

More work needed on increasing numbers of women coaches and technical officials – pipeline needed from grassroots to international level

“While significant gains were reported in gender parity for participating athletes and flag-bearers, there were 32 percent female International Technical Officials (ITOs) at the TOKYO 2020 Summer Olympics compared to 29 percent at RIO 2016 – an increase of 3 percent.

“Similarly, there were 13 percent female coaches at the TOKYO 2020 Summer Olympics compared to 11 percent at RIO 2016 – an increase of 2 percent.”

While the IOC reports significant steps have been taken by International Federations (IFs) to increase numbers of female technical officials and coaches, there needs to be strengthened pipelines in the sporting ecosystem to connect women from grassroots sports clubs to districts and provinces, then to National Federations so they may reach continental-level and international competitions such as the Olympic Games.

In undertaking the focus on establishing pathways for women coaches and technical officials in Oceania, the ONOC Equity Commission directly contributes to Objective 15 of the IOC Gender Equality and Inclusion Objectives for 2021–2024: ‘Taking into account that women represent 10 per cent of coaches at the Olympic Games, the IOC to coordinate the development of an action plan in collaboration with IFs and NOCs, for more women to be eligible and selected to participate in World Championships and the Olympic Games.”

Data collection and OSEP to be used in pipeline for training Pacific women coaches and technical officials

Brownlee said; “The ONOC Equity Commission will prioritise establishing pathways for Pacific Island female training as coaches and technical officials by using courses from the Oceania Sport Education Programme (OSEP), and through in-country initiatives.”

“The Commission collects gender disaggregated data from its membership of National Olympic Committees in Oceania but this has largely focused on sport administrators and leaders, and at Games time, athlete gender data becomes a focus – we are now updating our database to include women coaches and technical officials.”

The focus on female coaches and technical officials is among six other focus areas the ONOC Equity Commission is covering in this new Olympiad from 2021 to 2024.

Brownlee continued; “Other areas include the Gender Equity and Diversity Master Class which has just been held in conjunction with the IWG Conference on Women and Sport – we have a cohort of participants being empowered to be ambassadors for gender equality in the Pacific Islands.”

“The Commission will also engage in reflection of achievements and establish a clear direction for the future of gender equity in the region.

“We will also continue to advocate for safe sport at all levels and support women’s meaningful representation in governance, leadership and decision-making bodies in the Olympic Movement.”

This article is adapted from the ONOC website.