Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Not Norwegian Would, Norwegian Did!

What's the biggest women's sport in Norway?

Soccer.

Not gymnastics (it used to be), not netball, basketball, handball, but soccer.. er.. football...

And how did that happen? Because the Norwegian Football Federation wanted it to. Once upon a time, there was a women's football association, and a men's one which was the governing, institutionalised assocation. The main governing body eventually subsumed  took on board the female governing body, which would normally be a death knell for the "amalgamated" organisation. In this case, women's football grew, rather than faded away.

The Norwegian model was strategic and systemic, supported by government regulation on governing board compositions ie it was mandated that at least 40% of board membership must male, and at least another 40% must be female. It begs the question, what does increasing female membership of a governing board do for the culture of that board, and ultimately the organisation governed by that board?

Norwegian Football was committed to growing the sport for women, to increasing women's competitive participation in football.  108000 women play competitive football in Norway.

Imagine if that were Australian racing cycling? The Queen of Hearts used to imagine at least six impossible things before breakfast. Impossible? Maybe the number is very optimistic, but not impossible. It just requires committed systemic and strategic planning, processes and application. And maybe a starting point is more women in governance roles, at national (yes, that's YOU  Cycling Australia), state and club level. Not so hard to achieve. All it takes is for a woman to stand up and be counted, and for the men currently on boards/committees to count them, as contributors, actively engaged in the governance of the sport. Vote a woman on your club committee today.

Will your club aim for at least 40% of each sex on its committee? It will make a difference you know.

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