The 5th International Olympic Committee World Conference on Women and Sport, held in California these past few days, announced the winners of the IOC 2012 Women in Sports Awards. The awards are given to women who work to get more women involved in sport as athletes and leaders. The IOC Women and Sport Commission Chairperson Anita DeFrantz (pictured) said: “We are all here for the same reason: to find ways to ensure that the voices of women are heard in the decision making bodies of sport.”
One of the speakers at the event, Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the organizing committee for the upcoming London Olympics, told the audience about the role of women in the London Summer Games. According to Helene Elliott's article on latimes.com, "Women serve as LOCOG's (London Games) Director of Strategic Programs, Director of Sport, General Counsel and Human Resources Director". In addition, 54% of the workforce for the games is women. Duncan Mackay's article on insidethegames.biz tells us how Sebastion did it, how he worked for gender equity in managing the Games. He was "a little bit braver"! When a list of names to fill a job came to him, if there wasn't a woman's name on it, he sent it back! This is what should happen here in all areas, not just sports. Coe knew there were women who could do the job, and he wanted to know who they were.
There are women moving into new areas in sport outside the Olympics as well. Natalie Nakase became the first female head coach in Japan's top-tier men's professional basketball league. And Sue Falsone is the Dodgers' new head athletic trainer and physical therapist, the first woman to be head trainer in the U.S. major professional sports.
So spread the word to executives on Coe's "how to" - Be a bit braver!! Don't accept a list of candidates to fill a job if there isn't a woman on it. Don't be on a panel or go to a conference that doesn't include sufficient women speakers. Be proactive about it. As Coe said, it's not about quotas, its about choosing the best person from a list that includes women who can do the job.