2014 ICF GENDER EQUALITY HEROES STATSISSUE:  90 years and counting – the International Canoe Federation (ICF) remains almost exclusively a male-only club, with European men dominating key leadership positions.
This is their commitment to gender equality and universality?
From the ICF website:   “….in 1996, the IOC [International Olympic Committee] 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.’”  [At this rate, in 2014, the ICF should have at least 48% women in decision-making/leadership positions].
“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.”
Source:   http://canoeicf.com/icf/AboutICF/Gender-equity.html  (Please note: the “Resources” links on this page are dead).
The photos to the right speak for themselves.
  • The ICF has not demonstrated it has a coherent strategy for how to develop and nuture female canoeists nor develop and 2015 program changesmentor current/future female leaders in our sport.
  • The ICF has not published 2015 Program and Rules changes voted on at their November 7-9, 2014 Congress.  Scant information from one national federation via social media showed haphazard voting at best:  e.g., the 2015 Senior World level program for women’s sprint canoe will have no changes. Junior & U23 Worlds will go from 2 events to 3, but the highly competitive C2 500 was dropped with no explanation.   All other Sprint discipline classes (men’s/women’s kayak and men’s canoe) have 8 events each.
  • With about 50 countries racing and/or developing in Women’s Canoe (source: ICF data), the class was ready for at least 5 events at the Sprint Worlds: C1 200, C2 200, C1 500, C2 500, C1 5000.  With a proposal for 2020 Olympic inclusion for Sprint and  Slalom sitting with the IOC right now ready for a vote in early December, why is women’s canoe stagnated?

WC overview 4

Why the lack of transparency?    Is this “Always Moving Forward” (ICF Motto)?  With an all-male Executive Committee, a nearly all-male Board, no changes to the 2016 Olympic program (with only 30% female participation total), a stagnant 2015 Sprint Worlds Program for women’s canoe and no coherent strategy for the future:
  • How can this mostly male ICF justify its existence in the Olympic movement?
  • How can the IOC justify supporting an International Federation which clearly discriminates and does not understand “universality”?
  • When will the IOC make adherence to the Olympic Charter a condition of membership in the Olympic family? (that would assume holding itself accountable to the Olympic Charter).


After 90 years on the Olympic program, since canoe and kayak exhibition events were included in 1924, this is the picture of the ICF’s alignment with and commitment to the IOC’s gender equality edict, and the ICF’s own “Gender Equity Policy”.    Have they even read their or the IOC’s website?

Another statistic:  # of responses received since 2012 from the ICF Women’s Commission when we asked for assistance on behalf of female canoeists seeking help/guidance:
0 (zero).
What is the purpose of the Women’s Commission other than to have meetings in nice places?   Perhaps a name change may help instill a new sense of purpose:  “Equality Commission”.  This is far more encompassing and expands the gender conversation.
ICF Board Representation by Continent.  Below is raw data on ICF Board representation at the 2014 ICF Congress by Continent:2014 ICF Congress 220 men 28 women
• Executive Committee: 83% Europe (5 out of 6) / 17% Africa (1/6)
• Total ICF Board Members and Continent Rank
1. 52% Europe (15/29) – Europe has 25% of ICF National Federations
2. 21% Americas (6/29) – Americas has 19% of ICF NFs
3. 10% Africa (3/29) – Africa has 24% of ICF NFs
4. 10% Asia (3/29) – Asia has 22% of NFs
5. 7% Oceania (2/29) – Oceania has 8% of NFs

• Total ICF National Federation – # of countries per Continent
1. 25% Europe (42/165) – 83% of Exec Comm, 52% of Board
2. 24% Africa (40/165) – 17% of Exec Comm, 10% of Board
3. 22% Asia (37/165) – 0% of Exec Comm, 10% of Board
4. 19% Americas (32/165) – 0% of Exec Comm, 21% of Board
5. 8% Oceanias (14/165) – 0% of Exec Comm, 7% of Board

This falls into the folder entitled: “We cannot make this s**** (stuff) up.”


First photo chart sources:

http://canoeicf.com/icf/AboutICF/Structure-of-the-ICF/Board-of-Directors.html and