Today, March 8th, the global squash community celebrates International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and serves as a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
Below, WSF President Zena Wooldridge pens an open letter on International Women’s Day, the progress being made towards equity in squash, and the work still to be done.
Today, we invite you to join the World Squash Family in celebrating International Women’s Day and making a personal pledge to help attract more women into squash in whatever capacity.This year’s IWD theme is #EmbraceEquity, on which IWD organisers say: “Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA”. In this sense, there is an important difference between equality and equity. Equality means an equal sharing of resources regardless of existing provision or need. Equity is a sharing of resources (and interventions) based on what is needed to level the playing field. There is no shortage of evidence to show that gender equity is good for business and for the way we do business, reflected in WSF’s vision and values, which should be demonstrated in our actions and behaviours. As WSF’s global strategy enters its second year of delivery, how are we doing as a sport in our drive towards gender equity? And what should be our priorities for 2023? If we consider our senior leadership across the sport, the WSF Board is 40 percent female, which is a good start. The WSF Executive Committee (which includes Continental representatives) is only 23 percent female, so still some work to do. Though we have a few more female National Federation Presidents than five years ago, there are evident gaps in some regions, whilst female CEOs are rare, as are national coaches The recent review of WSF Commissions has significantly improved gender balance across WSF, with most new Commissions and task groups achieving gender balance or close to it. Coaching is one of our gender balanced commissions and its strategy includes support for more female coaches and tutors across the world. This priority has recently been partnered by the PSA Foundation to identify parts of the world needing targeted interventions to develop female coaches and tutors. The development of more qualified referees is one of the sport’s biggest challenges, at a time when more multi-sport events are requiring gender balance for officials as well as athletes. Without some radical interventions across the sport, we won’t shift the dial sufficiently or quickly enough to meet the growing expectations of players and fans. In response, WSF sent a strong message of its future intention in its appointment of a gender balanced referee team for the recent Women’s World Team Championships in Cairo. On its own, it will have limited long-term effect as however much WSF and PSA try to pull referees up from the top, we remain critically dependent on National Federations to attract and nurture female referees up through the pathway from bottom-up. On reflection, WSF is making progress in its drive to improve gender balance and we thank those of you who are also playing an important part in the sport’s journey. Today is a good opportunity to celebrate the sport’s achievements so far. But on a global basis we still have a lot to do and we will only achieve this together by embracing equity across the World Squash Family. #EmbraceEquity. Make a pledge to take one small action to move the dial. Have a great International Women’s Day and enjoy a selection of articles from recent weeks promoting women in squash, from juniors to the world’s best to coaches. Best regards, Zena
The future of Australian Squash?
After first picking up a racket aged five and nine, respectively, Australia’s Madison Lyon and Erin Classen are preparing for their final junior tournament together this summer, when Australia hosts the 2023 WSF World Junior Squash Championships. We caught up with the duo to get their thoughts on the future, moving on from junior circuit, and their perspective on International Women’s Day
US Squash and Girls Inc. to provide squash opportunities to 3,000 girls
A fantastic initiative by US Squash and Girls Inc that will offer introductory squash clinics to 3,000 girls at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
Karen Cagliarini: Turning a ‘devastating’ experience into a 32-year coaching career
A fascinating look at the career of Karen Cagliarini, who went from being ‘not interested in playing squash’ to an obsessive who has been involved in just about every facet of the sport!
Women In Coaching Fund to increase the number of women in squash leadership positions
PSA Foundation’s Women in Coaching Fund launches this year, with the aim of encouraging more women to participate in the game at a coaching and mentoring level. In partnership with US Squash, the fund will provide women the opportunity to earn the key qualifications and give them a platform to inspire other women and girls to be actively involved in the game.
“I thought I wouldn’t be back!” – Subramaniam makes winning return seven months after accident
Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam discusses her return to squash just months after suffering severe injuries in a traffic accident, which kept Malaysia’s designated flagbearer out of the Commonwealth Games and put her career in jeopardy.
Carol Owens on coaching: “There’s more than one way to fillet a fish!”
Sarah Fitz-Gerald speaks to former World No.1 Carol Owens, who – after a glittering career capped by Commonwealth, World Championship and World Team Championship gold medals – wanted to give back to her sport by becoming a coach.
Match of the year? Relive the best of the 2022 WSF Women’s World Team Championship Final
An absolute thriller! Highlights and a full replay of the final of December’s WSF Women’s World Team Championship, as USA took on hosts Egypt at the Madinaty Sporting Club.