World Sailing unveils a plan to lead gender equality in the sport. WORLD SAILING

World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport of sailing, has announced the launch of 'Steering the Course', a ground-breaking plan to encourage more women to participate in all aspects of the sport.

With less than 60 days to go until Paris 2024 - which will make history as the first #GenderEqualOlympics with full gender parity on the field - 'Steering the Course' reaffirms World Sailing's global commitment to promoting inclusivity, accessibility and equality at all levels of the sport. 

'Steering the Course' outlines a vision of what the sport should look like by 2032 and includes a wide range of initiatives and targets across seven priority areas - Coaches, Instructors and Team Leaders, Race Officials, Participation, Para Inclusive Sailing, Events, and Media and Governance. 

Between now and 2028, World Sailing aims to: 

-Achieve a target of 30% women registered as coaches and support staff at the 2026/27 World Sailing Championships (up from 18% at The Hague 2023). 

-Reach 35% women registered as coaches or team leaders at the Youth Sailing World Championships in 2026 (up from 18% at Buzios 2023). 

-Ensure 50% female participation in World Sailing technical courses for coaches in the quadrennium 2025-2028 (currently 42%). 

David Graham is the CEO of World Sailing. INSIDETHEGAMES
David Graham is the CEO of World Sailing. INSIDETHEGAMES

David Graham, Chief Executive Officer of World Sailing, said, "'Steering the Course', World Sailing's plan to support women in sailing, marks a significant milestone in the organisation's efforts to promote diversity and empowerment in all aspects of the sport. The launch of this plan in the countdown to the Olympic Games is particularly significant, as attention turns to our athletes competing in the world's largest gender-neutral sporting event." 

Paris 2024 will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three chief roles in the sailing events will be held by female officials. "World Sailing aims to not only to enhance the Olympic experience for all participants, but also to point the way to a brighter, more diverse future for the sport and to inspire lasting change for this and future generations throughout the sailing community," Graham stressed.   

Fiona Kidd, World Sailing's Head of International Development, added:  "'Steering the Course' is the embodiment of our unwavering commitment to promoting gender equality, accessibility and empowerment within our sport. With the firm belief that gender should never be a barrier, this plan aims to break down existing barriers and create a more inclusive environment where women and girls can thrive and excel." 

Catherine 'Cat' Duncan, World Sailing Development Manager, is the founder of the Steering the Course Festival, the Federation's annual celebration of women in sailing, which from 2021 will give women in 45 countries the opportunity to consider a career in sailing. "We know that World Sailing has a key role to play in setting the standards for gender equality in the sport," he said. 

Catherine Duncan is the Development Manager for World Sailing. LINKEDIN
Catherine Duncan is the Development Manager for World Sailing. LINKEDIN

"Now, 'Steering the Course' sets out what we, as the sport's global governing body, are committed to achieving. However, making the sport more welcoming to more women is not something we can achieve alone and we hope this document will encourage others in the sport to do the same," concluded Duncan. 

World Sailing is also working to increase the number of female board and committee members, with a target of 50% female representation in the President and Vice President Leadership Group, up from 37.5%, and 40% female representation in World Sailing's committees and commissions, up from 33% and 35% respectively. These goals will be a key area of focus for World Sailing's elected officials during the 2025-2028 term. 

All of the targets set by World Sailing are in line with the recently published World Sailing Olympic Vision strategy and are guided by the IWG Women & Sport Brighton and Helsinki Declaration, the IOC Guidelines on Equality and Inclusion and UN Women Sport for Generation Equality. The World Sailing Women in Sailing Strategy can be viewed and downloaded from the World Sailing website.