It was a majority of women from all parts of the world at the conference, but there were a number of men present who are involved with FISU.
A number of gender equality issues were highlighted within the sporting culture and the FISU structure itself.
The Gender Equality Committee seeks to improve equality and equity in all sports, in particular in university sports, which includes athletes, delegation and board members and officials.
Elida Alfaro, a University Professor in Madrid, began the discussions, highlighting the significant participation number differences in the last Olympic games – 55.8% men to 44.2% women.
She noted that in her country Spain, University sport participation is disappointingly 63.43% men to 36.57% women.
The roundtable discussed options for addressing the minimal numbers of women on the board in FISU, with only five females out of the 29 board executives.
“Together we can build a more equitable FISU that provides opportunities for all of us, without distinction of continent, race colour or religion or language. We want to build a FISU for all of us,” said Ms. Alfaro. “We have to work on equality to get equal opportunities for men and women.”
The speakers proudly re-announced that in September last year the Gender Equality Committee became a permanent committee in the FISU organization.
It was highlighted that women have overcome many barriers in the sporting world, but there are still many ‘glass ceilings’ to break through for management positions, for example: Difficulties to reconcile professional and private life and masculine stereotypes associated with leadership roles.
Overall, the round table agreed that FISU is going step by step looking forward to gender equity, and that implementation of policies to ensure ‘equity’ is a viable option that should be looked in to.
Leigh Ferguson/FISU Young Reporter (AUS)