IBU launches Gender Equality Policy

IBU launches Gender Equality Policy

The International Biathlon Union today published its first Gender Equality Policy to ensure the promotion of gender equality at all levels of the sport and in all its activities, with the goal to become the leading winter sport in terms of good governance, gender equality, and diversity.

The announcement coincides with the day of the Single Mixed Relay competition at the IBU World Championships Biathlon in Pokljuka, Slovenia, in which women will run the final leg of the relay for the first time ever in a World Championships, deciding the competition.

The policy applies to the IBU as an organisation, to all events sanctioned by the IBU, and the global biathlon family. The IBU will lead by example through its everyday practices and behaviours. It will also be responsible for supporting local organisers in broadly integrating gender equality into IBU events, and assisting and encouraging members of the biathlon family to implement gender equality policies and strategies at a national level.

IBU President Olle Dahlin said:

“Our strategic plan Target 26, which was developed and approved by the global biathlon family, made it clear that promoting gender equality is a strategic priority for the IBU. With the launch of our Gender Equality Policy we now have a structure in place that will allow us to ensure that biathlon is a sport free of gender discrimination and a sport that promotes equality at all levels of its management.

“We are at our strongest when we welcome the diversity of insights and perspectives of all members of our biathlon family – women and men. We know we have more work to do but this policy will formalise our commitment to encouraging and supporting women’s participation in biathlon at all levels so that we can implement the principle of equality for men and women.”

The Gender Equality Policy has set out three focus areas and strategic objectives by 2026:

Governance: ensuring that women are recruited to senior management governance and leadership positions and are assigned roles of influence with decision-making responsibilities while entrenching gender equality in national and international biathlon organisations through statutes, policies, and the electoral process.

Sport: increasing the recruitment and development of women coaches, referees, and officials at the highest level of the sport while keeping the existing equal balance in international competition participation, formats and sport technical rules, and equal pay. Safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.

Portrayal: avoiding prejudice and stereotypes in the portrayal of women and men in all biathlon areas by raising awareness of what constitutes bias both conscious and unconscious and ensuring an equal media presence.

The IBU will be obliged to follow continual improvement and regularly monitor and report on progress. The IBU will track its contributions toward the International Olympic Committee gender equality goals and review this policy every two years if there is no request from the IBU Executive Board or change in legislation that merits an amendment before the two years.