On this week of celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8), Sports Radio Canada gives the floor to columnists who share their thoughts on the place of women in the world of sport.
Well if you compare with my beginnings in this wonderful world of sports, yes, we are moving forward. I was pretty much lonely in my gang, especially in the locker room.
I’ll always remember Rendez-vous 87, a series of two hockey matches between Canada and the Soviet Union at the Coliseum in Quebec.
After the second match, I saw a defender from the Canadian national team. Wet hair, a small towel on his bare shoulder, in front of him a crowd of reporters. I walk, hold my microphone. Verse Boy! Her left leg is pulled crosswise over the bench, her right rests firmly on the floor, and in the middle, her genitals fly off. Yeah! They are all naked in front of the TV cameras! So how it was. Not in the Middle Ages, 34 years ago.
I admit that having women in the dressing room was a huge advance for humanity!
Is this changing? Do you know a lot of professional women who make a living from sports? Do you see a lot of them from the women’s professional leagues? And in the media, how many hours and places are allocated to women’s sport? No need for a long scan to answer: No, very little!
At the same time it changes …
Take the games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) reiterates in all forums that those in Paris in 2024 will be the Equity Games. For the first time we will be in the ratio of 50-50. As many women as men will participate in this Olympic Games. Perfect it! It only took 128 years to get there. Well that’s a sign that we are moving forward.
We must not be fooled by the tree hiding the forest. Take the example of Canada. We coexist, we are a country that often comes out on top. Since the Atlanta Games in 1996, our teams have always been made up of equal numbers of men and women, if we are talking about athletes.
If we look at representation in terms of coaches, we are light years away from equality.
Our national teams had 20% of the female coaches in London in 2012. In 2014, in Sochi, 11%, two years later, in Rio, 16.5%, and in Pyeongchang in 2018, 11%.
I’ll save you the numbers, but I also stress that women are clearly underrepresented in all sports decision-making roles. Count …
However, according to a report published in March 2018 by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), studies indicate that increasing the number of women in business leadership improves their financial performance. interesting!
Moreover, this study also indicates that companies with more women on their boards of directors and ambitious policies in terms of human capital have better productivity. nothing!
These are the facts that tell us that diversity is the best guarantee of success.
I have always believed that for a woman to become what she wants, the whole society, men and women alike, must believe in a common future.
When I got to the Sports Department at Radio Canada, it wasn’t very mixed up. Thirty-five years later, few women have held the decision-making positions: first director of sports and Olympiad Catherine Dupont, editor-in-chief of the Olympic Games, Chantal Lively, Paralympic coordinator, Caroline Bresson, not to mention my numerous and excellent fellow journalists on all our platforms. Yes, it goes ahead, forward this time, but it’s not fair yet.
I mean justice, not the opposite of authority. Help some of you. Without the support of many of my male colleagues, I would not have been able to have such a long career in sports.
For me, it is clear that together, with respect, through the mingling of the sexes, by the shock of ideas, we will succeed in building a society in which men and women can aspire to the same possibilities, on the same occasions. The situation is getting more serious, as several studies tell us that women have been affected by the epidemic, among other things, economically.
Is March 8 here forever? I would say no. But even though I am forever optimistic, let’s say that on the entire planet, the battle is far from won. We just have to think about girls’ access to education. According to Oxfam’s January 2021 report, the pandemic will erase the progress that has been made over the past two decades. We are talking about millions of young women who will not return to school, and who will remain stuck in poverty.
It’s important to work and move on. I leave you with a sentence from Amin Maalouf’s latest book, Our unexpected brothers :
Only the present carries life, like the grapes that carry the sun and the sugar.
Long live the grapes! And let’s go ahead … now!