(Reuters) – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to push for equal gender representation across all areas of its governance, the organization’s President Sebastian Coe said on Thursday.
As part of reforms adopted by the IAAF Congress in 2016, the ruling body has written minimum gender targets into its constitution to ensure more women are represented at all levels in the running of the sport.
The IAAF will have equal representation on its Council by 2027, with two of the four vice president positions being filled by women.
The two members on the Council in 2019 will be athletes’ commission chair Inaki Gomez of Canada and deputy chair Valerie Adams of New Zealand.
“We have parity in pay, parity in play but not parity in positions,” Coe said in a statement on International Women’s Day.
“Being able to reflect off the field of play what is widely heralded as one of the most diverse and culturally attuned sport on the field of play is critical to remaining relevant to all fans but affirmative action is the only way we will shift the dial.”
To ensure strong eligible candidates for future IAAF elections the Gender Leadership Taskforce, chaired by Council member Stephanie Hightower, is working with the women’s committee.
“Setting targets is important but evidence shows that targets must be supported by education and development programs that bring more women in to all areas of the sport,” Hightower said.
“This needs a regional focus as the barriers to entry for women are as different as the countries they come from.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond