An open letter from ICF President, Thomas Konietzko, recognising the important role women have played in growing our sport, and the work still to be done to achieve genuine equality.
Half of the population in the world are women. Unfortunately, this is not reflected by equal access to all areas of life in a lot of countries around the world.
Even on International Women’s Day 2023 women have still to fight for equal rights.
Fortunately, not in our Federation.
Canoeing cannot change the world but can make in terms of gender equity and access the world a better place.
Almost half of our millions of paddlers around the world are women. Our Olympic program is gender balanced, in terms of both events and numbers. All our disciplines offer access for both genders.
Nowadays it`s normal that every ICF decision is considered under the light of gender impact, and we do not allow any decisions that do not take gender equity into account or disadvantage women.
More and more women are being elected to important positions in ICF bodies.
Thanks to a lot of dedicated women and a few dedicated men, the general mindset in our Federation changed completely during the last decades. Gender equality has become a common goal for all our stakeholders.
Despite all of this, we are still far away from gender equality at the ICF, but we are getting better. And because this topic is an important and common aspiration, I`m sure we will still get better in the future.
Already it is the new normal not to discuss gender equality anymore, but simply to expect it with each of our decisions.
Please let`s consider together in our clubs, National Federations and in all of our ICF bodies this goal as one of the crucial aims for a successful future for canoeing.
Our sport and our federation would be much poorer without the spirit and the ideas of our women. We are blessed with a lot of role models, including female athletes and female officials who have performed a lot of the heavy lifting for our sport . Many of these women have made great sacrifices but their passion has inspired people across canoeing.
Today I want to say thanks to all our women in canoeing, wherever in the world they are doing our sport, or however they are helping to develop our sport. Canoeing would be not the same and in such a strong position without your tireless efforts.
From International Canoe Federation