Susan Dunklee (USA), Jessica Jislova (CZE), Regina Oja (EST) and Kelsey Dickinson (USA) are the first four athletes who have signed up to become Gender Equality Ambassadors. Find out why they decided to become Gender Equality Ambassadors and what they are hoping to achieve:
SUSAN DUNKLEE, TEAM USA
"Biathlon is already one of the more progressive sports for gender equality but we still have a long way to go. Men and women have equal prize money, World Cup participation, and TV broadcasting time, but when I look down the line of coaches behind scopes on the World Cup, I don’t see many women. I also don’t see many as IBU leaders, technical delegates, international referees, wax technicians, or media. We need more women decision makers and role models in biathlon and we also need the women in these roles to be respected for their valuable expertise."
"To make our biathlon family more welcoming so athletes and others feels 100% comfortable being themselves, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and nationality, and to actively celebrate our differences."
JESSICA JISLOVA, TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC
"I see that people are trying to be more accepting, open-minded and educated about equality matters. And I don't mean only gender but also sexual orientation, religion or nationality. I want to be part of this change and that is why I applied for this ambassador program. I want to help IBU make our sport even better and safer place for everyone."
"My dream achievement would be opening eyes. Helping people realize that their behaviour (or jokes, or taunts) may be hurtful, harmful, degrading or exclusionary. Helping people break the stereotypes, the "rules" of what each person is/isn't allowed to do only based on their gender. Helping people understand and see the difficult situations from different points of view. I think that a lot of times people are not trying to be mean, they just do not realize what impact their actions have."
REGINA OJA, TEAM ESTONIA
"I wanted to become GE ambassador because I believe genuinely that it's time to be more open about this topic and cut out the need to see women or men behind a person and make assumptions based just on that [..] I think it shouldn't be so often about what someone's gender is rather than what he or she gives back to the world and community, how hard he or she works"
"I'm hoping to achieve more awareness about this topic, that more people dare to think how they feel and if there's something that should be changed, maybe by thinking about your own situation, knowing more about this topic helps one to see and understand how and why they feel the way they do (positive or negative emotions both) and if there's something in their surroundings that could be changed for better."
KELSEY DICKINSON, TEAM USA
"The reason I want to be an IBU Gender Equity Ambassador is because as an athlete and through the work I have done with the Women Ski Coaches Association here in the United States I can see how retaining, developing, and advancing women within the biathlon community will greatly benefit the IBU as they strive to achieve equity."
"What I am hoping to achieve through this ambassadorship is threefold. First, I would like to further understand the experiences and challenges that different teams and nations are having with gender equity so they can be included in the global conversation. Second, I would like to be involved in making the data on gender equity transparent and accessible to all. Third, I would like to support the IBU in their mission to create data-driven policies that are realistic, actionable, and ambitious."