Is design holding back women in sailing?

Published on October 3rd, 2023

The World Sailing Trust’s Strategic Review into Women in Sailing put forward several recommendations, amongst them a call to industry to bring together key designers, brands, and manufacturers to develop best practice guidance for gender equal design that supports increased women and girls’ participation in sailing.

Thus, the global charity that supports sailing in all its forms has initiated the Gender Design Survey to gather baseline data to start the discussion whether the design of sailing equipment is impacting the development of greater gender diversity.

The starting point to develop this best practice guidance is to ensure that there is supporting data to highlight if and where there are issues, and how the industry should best address them from a practical and commercial standpoint.

Gender inclusive design in sport reinforces fairness, inclusivity, and safety for all participants and, as one of the most equipment heavy sports, sailing should not be an exception. Equipment should be designed to ensure that there is fair competition, it is inclusive and respective, and provides a safe environment for athletes of all genders to participate and compete on a level playing field.

World Sailing Trust has been supported in the development of the survey by Women Who Sail and The Magenta Project, two organizations that are leading the way in creating supportive communities, along with equitable and inclusive programs to support greater gender diversity and inclusion.

Women Who Sail is a 50,000-strong global community of women in the boating world, providing a supportive environment, resources, and advocacy to create more diversity in sailing and The Magenta Project, has been developing pathways and mentoring programs for a more equitable and inclusive sport for the past five years.

The Gender Design Survey looks at two main areas; the first boat specific and the second clothing, and will provide research data around several key issues that have already been identified. The results will be published as a baseline data report as part of a call to action to the marine industry to address perceived areas of inequality in design, as well as be the catalyst for further research.

To complete the survey, click here.

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