Diversity and Inclusion Commission

Inclusion workshop

The inclusion workshop took place on Saturday 10 April 2021.

In this meeting ICF Diversity and Inclusion Commission Chair Dr Cecilia Farias (ARG) and physiotherapists Fatima Fernandes (BRA), ICF Head of Classification, and Andrea Waters (CAN) presented on how paddling clubs and federations can become more inclusive. The presentation was followed by small group discussions on programmes that clubs and federations have already implemented to be more inclusive, and discussing suggestions for inclusion to fit any budget. More than 70 people joined the workshop from over 20 countries. The presentation was in English with small group discussions also taking place in Spanish and Portuguese.

View the presentation slides from Andrea Waters.

Diversity and Inclusion

The ICF is dedicated to promoting diverse environment both on and off the water.  The Diversity and Inclusion Commission helps to identity the underlying issues in regards to equality and further equity. 

Gender equality

The ICF has been supporting the development of women in leadership positions through attendance at the ASOIF Women in Leadership course. The women's commission / diversity and inclusion commission nominated the following attendees, in conjunction with the Continental Associations. Their participation has been supported by ASOIF and the ICF to attend this course.


  • Miki Bando (JPN / Asia)
  • Adriana Valderrama Morones (MEX / America)
  • Cecilia Farias (ARG / America)



  • Tatyana Mamatkulova (UZB / Asia)
  • Magda Abdallah Chaher (DJI / Africa)
  • Marta Felpeto Lamas (ESP / Europe) - participation fully funded by the NF (RFEP)


  • Helen Brownlee (AUS / Oceania)
  • Maree Burnet (NZL / Oceania)
  • Cecilia Farias (ARG / America)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is concerned by the lack of women’s involvement in the decision making structures of its member sports organisations. There is a need to recognise that both men and women should be able to contribute to sport organisations with their knowledge, expertise and ideas. Accordingly, in 1996, the IOC adopted a policy that “the International Federations should immediately establish a goal that 10% of all positions in their decision-making structures be held by women by 2000, and that percentage reach at least 20% by December, 2005.”

The ICF, along with the IOC, is firmly convinced of the need for women to play a greater part in decision-making, as well as encouraging sports practice among women. However, despite some significant steps forward, there is still much work to be done. Changes to the ICF Statures address equality, all Standing Committees have at least one woman member and women are selected on all Competition Committees for World championships. Since 2010, Gender Equality Workshops have been conducted in conjunction with the ICF Congress.

As further resources are developed they will be added to this page.

 2014 ICF Gender Equity Conference


ICF President Perurena with former Chair of the ICF Women’s Commission, Helen Brownlee and members, (current chair) Dr. Cecilia Farias, and Maree Burnett, at the ICF Womens Commission Meeting, Warsaw, November 2014.

When Women Matter

The UWW Women in Wrestling Global Forum was held at the Mexico Olympic Training Centre, Mexico City, from 17th to 20th of November 2017.

This event was funded by United World Wrestling and Olympic Solidarity, organized by Mexican Wrestling Federation and supported by Mexican Olympic Committee

United World Wrestling understands that Gender equality is a governance issue, and therefore works on the involvement of leaders, both men and women, towards a more gender equitable sport. I was honoured with the invitation to be a key note speaker at this event, which had the participation of 26 women from 19 countries. I shared my knowledge and experience, and in particular some of the issues that as a woman I faced first as an athlete and then as a woman in positions of decisions.

It was not a surprise to recognise the reactions of the women at the audience, as many have experienced similar situations while they were athletes or were advancing their sport officer's career.

It is curious to recognise certain sense of pudor on women at the moment of promoting their access to positions of decision, as if the sole promotion of women that they should do would be the one of the women athletes. We can and we should promote girls and women athletes, coaches, judges, administrators, event organisers, journalists, medical and paramedical and in general, all the roles on which a competent woman can find the way to serve to the sport community.

Why women should strive to be in positions of decision?  Because a proper balance of participation of women and men has not been reached, and therefore we are not benefiting of the best contribution that gender equity can bring.

Equity and equality had been a choice at the moment of speaking about opportunities for both genders. Personally, I have chosen equity as reference to what is fair, rather than equality as equal quantity. Fortunately, nowadays the women that have access to education and information understand the undeniable women rights. Many of us embrace with passion the cause of the women rights. 

All sort of advices can be given to a woman that wants to occupy a position at a Board of Directors or at an Executive Committee of a sport body; but I believe that we all have to follow our own instinct finding the position on which one we can fully serve the sport. To do that, women have to educate themselves and prepare for the multiple tasks that the current times demand if we want to be at a top level. 

Women have to run for elections and work for winning the positions that they want. That is not so easy, it requires courage and self-determination. Women can and should excel for their good work which is never possible without the support and cooperation of our male counterparts in sport, in society and basically in life.

Once we defeat prejudices, visible and invisible barriers, there is still one more obstacle: the financial support.

Women with responsibilities at the international level have to travel and not all the organisations that benefit from their incorporation allocate a budget for that purpose, aborting in this way the completion of their duties

There is lot of work to be done on these and other women matters, for now, I would like to share with you the words that I said to the United World Wrestling´s women: "Competent, honest and brave women make the change possible”


Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Commission Dr. Cecilia Farias