It’s time to take a look back as 2023 comes to an end. Although there is still a long way to go for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in sports, it is also important to highlight the progress and initiatives that are helping us get there. Both in the world of professional sport and of amateur sport, initiatives have emerged and allowed greater recognition. For example, the professional women’s hockey (WPHL) and women’s soccer leagues (PROJECT 8) or the obtaining of the Billie-Jean-King Cup by Canadian tennis players.
Regarding table tennis, the ITTF held its first ever meeting in Dubai in the presence of ITTF President Petra Sörling as well as the new ITTF Diversity and Gender Commissioner, Hajera Kajee.“Despite the need for further progress, positive changes have been made, such as equal prize money between men and women, gender parity among technical officials and the co-chairmanship of the Athletes’ Commission by a man and a woman.”
In Canada, the gender equity committee newly called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) continued its activities, thanks to the involvement of its volunteers. This committee aims to promote the involvement of girls and women in table tennis in Canada.
Here are some 2023 highlights:
-The Women in Table Tennis Promotional Campaign supported by representatives of the Athletes’ Commission highlighting monthly athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators of the Canadian table tennis community.
–Table Tennis Canada’s social media presence every Wednesday shown a spotlight on our females. These publications assisted in discovering news, initiatives, or resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
-Organization of webinars offered to coaches. 3 webinars in collaboration with the Coach Development Committee were offered to deal with topics more specific to the development and coaching of female athletes.
-Nomination of coaches to ITTF programs. 2 applications from female coaches were presented to participate in the ITTF My Gender my Strength program. Coach Luba Sadovska participated in this development program specifically for women coaches.
-Request regarding the scheduling of presentation of matches during major tournaments. The alternance between the presentation of the men’s and women’s finals was applied to the 2023 Canada Games at the IPE to respect equity in the importance of the 2 categories. Full article : https://ttcanada.ca/making-a-change-one-match-at-the-time/?lang=en
-Recommendation to the Table Tennis Canada Awards Committee. For the 2nd year in a row, the Table Tennis Canada Awards Committee recognized both a female and male athlete during its annual awards ceremony.
-Participation in the search for candidates for the ttcan board elections. The election of 2 Directors and the presence of an observer from the gender equity committee is not unrelated to the dynamism, actions, and influence of the gender equity committee.
It is important to recognize and celebrate these small advances and continue working achieving gender equity in 2024. You will have the opportunity to learn about the committee’s ongoing initiatives to promote female representation and participation. Don’t hesitate to contact one of the members to share ideas or suggestions to make the Canadian table tennis community more equitable, inclusive and diverse.