The Women in Sport High Performance Pathway (WISH) is supported by Olympic Solidarity and was developed to target women and sport development, according to Recommendation 6 from the IOC Gender Equality Review Project, published in March 2018.
This recommendation encourages "Balanced gender representation for coaches selected to participate at the Olympic Games". Specifically, the working group recommended that "the International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordinates the development of an action plan in collaboration with Olympic Movement stakeholders for more women to be eligible to participate at Olympic Games. It is also recommended that a baseline for female entourage members at the Olympic Games is established."
Closing the gender gap in coaches at the Olympic Games has been reiterated as a priority for the IOC in the new Gender Equality and Inclusion Objectives for 2021-2024. Taking into account that women represent 10 percent of coaches at the Olympic Games, objective 15 is for “the IOC to coordinate the development of an action plan in collaboration with International Federations (IF) & National Olympic Committees (NOC), for more women to be eligible and selected to participate at World Championships and the Olympic Games.”
The WISH Programme has been developed in cooperation with the IOC, Olympic Solidarity, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, and several International Federations already engaged in projects to increase opportunities and pathways for high-performance women coaches. This programme has also been supported by the International Council for Coaching Excellence, who voiced a global call to action to increase the number of women in coaching at all levels and so provide athletes with greater choice. This call to action is supported by ensuring there is a strong and sustainable pipeline of women coaches equipped to step up to elite roles, maintain their roles and mentor future high performance coaches.
IFSC participation in the Programme:
The IFSC joined the programme for the first time in cohort number two with coach Ajda Remskar from Slovenia, and in cohort number three with Beatrix Chong of Singapore, Stella Kerasidou of Greece, Meghan McDonald of the USA and Elnaz Rekabi of Iran.
About the Programme:
The programme runs over 21 months and allows women who are involved, or have the potential to be involved in elite coaching, to access leadership training, leadership mentoring and complementary sport-specific training led by the IF and with the engagements of the NOCs.
A cohort of 26 women from six sports and 23 nations completed a pilot women’s high-performance coach programme, which had many successes despite the global pandemic. Several women have gone on to be leading or supporting national programmes, appointed into national coaching roles and have had success at championships. One of the coaches has attended the Olympics as a coach and several others have led their team to World Championships.
The programme is special in that Olympic Solidarity and IOC with the IFs and NOCs will continue to track and support these high performance women coaches going forward and a commitment has been made to support a series of new cohorts of women coaches in the next three years.
The women coaches for the programme will be selected with an aim to target those who have the necessary level to be successful at regional and/or continental Games, World Championships, Youth Olympic and Olympic Games, and are working with national teams who are also targeting this level. Additional support for these coaches to work towards their objectives in coordination with the various stakeholders will be provided as part of the programme before, during and after the programme.
At the end of the 21 month period, the best-identified candidates who may require more support to progress will be invited to attend a more specific and top-level coaching education programme under the umbrella of their respective IF. For this second part, candidates could benefit from another Olympic Solidarity scholarship through the Entourage Unit.
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