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Gender Ratio
Forum Home »  General Discussion »  Gender Ratio
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Paul Atkinson
Team Admin

Top Gun
Posts: 7

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Posted: Fri May 13, 2022

Just wanted to put a note out there regarding gender ratio as we have seem to taken a few steps backwards. Prior to 2018 the team that was scored on decided the gender ratio (4:3 or 3:4) and informed the other side so that they could match in comp only. Starting the summer of 2018, all teams were obligated to gender match.


In 2019 going into 2020 the Wednesday league explored a gender ratio change which mandated a switch every few points with potential intent to introduce that ratio to league play.

We have now gone to zero gender matching.

I understand that the pandemic has had effects on the number of teams and players available with a noticeably smaller number of teams from years past. This decision still does not make sense to me.
Matthew Boag
Mighty Hucks
Posts: 1

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Posted: Sat May 14, 2022

Paul makes a good point. I'd like to hear what the plan is moving forward regarding gender matching/ratio.

I'm assuming the league has gone backwards because they need more female players. But if there is no gender matching, what incentives are there for anyone to recruit more females to the league?
Taylor Atkinson
Days of Thunder
Posts: 1

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Posted: Sat May 14, 2022

I hope this changes in the near future. We were progressing at a fast pace to make our league one that stands out in regards to gender equality. I feel disappointed upon hearing we are not continuing with previous (and very fair) gender ratios without ever consulting the teams.
Pat Dwyer
Team Admin
Windchill
Posts: 1

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Posted: Sat May 21, 2022

A conversation about the gender ratio is needed. It's disappointing to see us take a step backwards on this problem.

We could start considering how to recruit more women for the league at all levels. I know this is a topic of discussion at previous captain's meetings.
Sandy Bassett
BMH
Posts: 2

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Last Updated: Thu Jun 2, 2022

I completely agree with everyone here. We have lost a lot of female players due to the pandemic and taking all the gender matching rules is not the solution to this problem. I don’t understand why we aren’t, at the very least, gender matching on receiving team choice.
Jamie Millage
Gganbus
Posts: 1

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Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2022 @ 12:18 AM

agreed.
John Colligan
Bulging Discs
Posts: 2

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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2022 @ 7:52 PM

1 of the issues with the gender matching is that it seems some teams hoard all the females. Leaving slim pickings for the rest of the league.

I personally don't think gender matching will draw more female players to the league. Most times, we are short females playing with 3 ladies. That doesn't mean we shouldn't gender match.

We should have a maximum number of females per team until the dust settles to spread the females throughout the league.

Worst thing is having guys sit while teams play short because not enough girls on one team. I don't think that is the solution either.
Matt Boag
Shark Bait
Posts: 3

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Posted: Tue Aug 2, 2022 @ 10:47 PM

In response to John, I'd like to point out that female players are not commodities being hoarded by teams. They are people. Choosing to play on the teams that they enjoy playing with. They should not be forced to spread out among the league to supplement the teams that are unable to attract female players on their own.

If your team(s) are short on female players, I'd suggest recruiting new players. Reach out to friends, co-workers, family members etc to try and grow the league.

John Colligan
Bulging Discs
Posts: 2

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Last Updated: Sat Aug 6, 2022 @ 10:18 AM

Hi Matt, I guess the use of the word hoard was impolite. I'll further explain.

Historically we have played 4:3 (m/f) outdoor and 4:2 (m/f) indoor. The proponents of gender equity in ultimate generally purport for 4:3--3:4 option and 3:3 referenced the above. Essentially, those proponents are asking for gender equity of 50% men and 50% women in the league and on the field. On the surface this seems like a very compassionate well meaning intention. The problem being, we don't have 50% men and 50% women.

So to explain my point:

If we want a functioning league with the above metrics, we need not just gender equity on the field, but gender equity between teams for this to work long term and have a successful league. Thus, hoarding, for lack of a better word, will not achieve the goal and should be restricted on teams just like we restrict on the field.No difference. If we ignore this point, the sport/league will suffer as quality of play will diminish because teams will have to play short on the field. Remember, we allow people of any gender to play as men (open) but not vice versa. So women's participation is never restricted but for men it is.

Here are 3 articles that essentially state that 40+% of men participate in sport, and Canada is at an all time low of 8% of women participating in sport in 2020. In the western world it seems to be about 45% of men and 20-25% of women. There are countless programs that encourage women to participate in sport for the past 20 years and yet here we are. I know of zero organizations that solely focus on increasing male participation in sport.

https://www.thestar.com/sports/2020/06/11/womens-participation-in-sports-is-declining-according-to-canadian-women-and-sport-survey.html

https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2017/1129/923613-the-gender-play-gap-why-arent-more-women-playing-sport/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2022.836525/full

Essentially, men are at least twice as interested in sport as measured by their participation. And up to 5 times more interested in sport.

At some point we have to accept the facts. 50/50 gender is likely not achievable long term because women en mass just don't like sport as much as men. And that's ok. In fact, given our league seems to have less teams every year, focusing on women as opposed to the league and sport in general may actually harm both women and men by having less opportunities to play overall.

The data would seem to support that we actually go 5:2 and 5:1, but I'm not advocating for that. I think the status quo is satisfactory.

So Matt, to your point of me recruiting more women to play, (which I do), I find that they don't want to, or they play and give up. But in Ultimate, it's certainly not because of a lack of opportunity or encouragement.

As always, I'm open to being wrong and further discourse as to what I don't know about this topic. I know it isn't popular to take this stance, but it seems like it is supported by the data presented.
Brian Seale
Mighty Hucks
Posts: 1

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Posted: Sat Aug 6, 2022 @ 7:46 PM

I reject the idea that the data suggests we should keep the status quo or increase the imbalance. A league that's designed for a gender imbalance is going to have a gender imbalance. That shouldn't surprise anyone.

I also think a lot of the teams that have difficulty keeping women on their teams can probably do more to keep their women engaged. There are definitely instances of teams in this league that regularly fail to utilize their women. I think it's pretty reasonable to leave a team if you think they are excluding you.

I would much rather be a part of a league that supports equality than one that uses biased data to continue treating women like they aren't as important.
Deidre MacKinnon
The Art of Awesome
Posts: 1

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Posted: Sun Aug 7, 2022 @ 11:56 AM

I play in the Peterborough league as well which I am guessing is similar in size to our league, but do not quote me on that. This league uses the gender ratio. We haven’t had any issues with fielding a team because we did not have enough women. I attribute that to us having a captain who is super organized and good at recruiting and adding to our roster when necessary.

I find it frustrating to hear that people think there are not enough female players and I disagree. There are many women who want to play and do not have the opportunity. I didn’t have a team this year and am subbing on a team. So I think it’s just a matter of doing the work to find an extra couple of female players.
Matt Boag
Shark Bait
Posts: 3

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Posted: Mon Aug 8, 2022 @ 3:48 PM

John,

How would you like it if you were forced to switch teams in order to balance out rosters? We are all out there playing on teams with our friends. How is it fair to force some of the female players to play on different teams? You don't grow the league by forcing players to play on teams they don't want to. That will lead to lower morale overall and a lot more players dropping out of the league entirely.

As stated by many others, the way to grow the league and the sport is by recruiting more players, and retaining those players. I've been in this league for 14 years. I can't count how many teams I've played against that basically ignore their female players entirely, rarely pass to them, or scream at them to make quick dump passes back to a guy. It's little wonder why many of those female players end up changing teams or leave the sport entirely. I play on several of these teams that you claim are hoarding girls. I'd like to think those players stay with my teams because they enjoy playing with me/us and because we include them as equal members of the team.

Every Ultimate league in the world is moving towards gender equity. I'd like our league to catch up, because we are falling behind.

I would love some more female perspectives on this point. I'd also love to hear from some of the league executives who have stayed silent on this topic thus far.
Kelly-Anne Fagan
Windchill
Posts: 1

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Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2022 @ 4:49 PM

I agree that it feels like the league is going backwards in terms of gender ratios.
I also agree that the treatment of female matching players on and off the field tends to directly influence whether they choose to stay with the team and maybe even the sport. We are all out to have fun and get exercise. It's no fun if you aren't being thrown to when you are open or if you have someone standing 2 feet behind you calling for a dump at stall 2. It's also pretty hard to gain confidence in the game if these things are happening.
So I feel like there are things we can all do on and off the field to make our league more inclusive.

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