Gender issues in the sailing spotlight

Published on October 26th, 2022

The 2022 World Sailing Annual Conference on October 22-29 considers submission by its delegates which propose changes to the sport. Here are three that involve gender issues.


Submitted by Royal Yachting Association:
There are eight rules in the English version of the RRS that use the words ‘he’ or ‘his’. Removing unnecessary gendered terms best serves gender equality in the rules. The proposed wording changes do not alter in any way the intent or meaning of these eight rules. This proposal is to remove unnecessary gender terms in the Racing Rules of Sailing and promote gender equality in sail racing. – Details

Submitted by International 49er Class Association:
The purpose is to ensure women do not face unequal treatment in Olympic sailing amounting to discrimination on the basis of sex. Currently sailing has 4 Men’s Events, 4 Women’s Events, and 2 mixed Events at the Olympics. As such, women can compete in 6 of the 10 Olympic Events, but cannot compete in the 4 Men’s Events.

However, in Canada and other countries with similar legal systems like the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Australia there is clear case law stating “females may try out for male teams, irrespective of whether a female team is available, and regardless of the skill level of the female team.” By extension, females would be allowed to compete on male teams or in male competitions, irrespective of whether a female team or competition is available, and regardless of the level of female competition.

Failure to allow females to try out for or compete on male teams or to compete in male competitions would be considered unequal treatment and would amount to discrimination on the basis of sex. Further, refusing such opportunities would amount to denying females the opportunity to be judged on their personal merits, which constitutes differential treatment, and, by definition, discrimination.

The proposal is to change the four Olympic Events currently designated as “Men’s Events” to be renamed as “Open Events.” – Details

Submitted by Swedish Sailing Federation:
Today there is a male and a female event for skiff at the Youth Sailing World Championship but there is no opportunity for a 29er mixed crew to participate. This proposal is to make a change so that the event for skiff in the Youth Sailing World Championship is male/mixed in instead of male.

This change would help to reach the goals to have more female sailors and more nations participating in youth sailing. It would also give the opportunity to as many skiff sailors as possible to be eligible for qualifying for the Youth Sailing World Championship and to encourage mixed sailing for youths. Additionally, it would further develop mixed sailing on both youth and senior level and allow a nation to send their best 29er crew to the event, if it’s a mixed crew. – Details

Tags: , ,



Back to Top ↑

WordPress Ads

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your daily or weekly download by email.

Subscribe - In popup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.