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Stephane Malbos, CIVL president responds

Stef-CIVL <<stefmalbos>>

First, be assured that CIVL objective is to promote and encourage
women’s flying.

Second, as we often say, CIVL is us. Decisions are no longer made by bureaucrats
but by pilots, team leaders and competition organizers who are now the vast
majority of delegates and committee members.

Third, we regret that women don’t get involved more in the running of CIVL,
except in Accuracy. It would be nice to find other Jamies, Reginas and Claudias
whose voices could be heard.

Fourth, CIVL philosophy: it will be a long one.

Historically, until now, women have always flown in specific ‘women only’ World
championships, except in Forbes 2013 (the organizers wanted a separate
championship to allow more women, but CIVL Bureau decided against it as the
local regulation with women integrated in the overall championship had already
been published).

The ‘every two years’ rhythm has been hard to follow, with championships 2 years
in a row (twice) or separated by 3 years (twice also). In recent years, CIVL had
to play a proactive role so Women could have a championship.

After Annecy 2015 we had no bid for Women. We thought it was better to have a
specific championship along with the ‘overall’ one in Brazil than no
championship at all. The organizers accepted. It was discussed in the Hang
Gliding Committee (March 2015), the Bureau implemented it, the 2016 Plenary
approved it.

The problem of women not being able to fly in both overall and specific
championships was discussed at all levels. We had to answer 3 questions:

—What do the women want? We know that the very top women (a handful) are happy
to fly ‘overall’, but that the vast majority of lower-ranked women wants to fly

—What is best for the sport? An ‘overall’ with very few women (8 or so in
Forbes) or a ‘specific’ with a lot more (21 in Annecy)? We believe it is the

—Who is the truest champion: the one who is the best follower or the one who is
the best leader? We believe it is the second.

At the 2017 Plenary, the Austrian pushed a proposal that a few of us found very
much like male chauvinistic slandering against women. Basically it said that we
should not accept women in ‘overall’ because ‘tasks for men should not be
influenced in length and quality due to a much slower average speed of female
pilots.’ Of course such proposal does not resist any basic analysis, as in
Forbes 2013 and Valle 2015, women have left many men behind. Still the principle
was discussed in the pre-plenary Open meeting, and if the proposal itself was
withdrawn, a recommendation to the Plenary was done on how different tasks for
women should be drawn. The Plenary discussed the recommendation and agreed with
it without a formal vote taking place, the matter being a specificity for the
local regulations still to be published.

So we can say that the CIVL philosophy about women in World championships have
been constant along the years: specific championships is what we want in general
and this applies in Brasilia.

Fifth, all this is a nice argumentation but it does not solve the Brazilian real
issue, which now is not if we will have a specific or integrated championship,
but if we will have a championship at all. It looks like there might not be
enough women to validate a championship. And if we have just enough women (8
from 4 countries) to validate it, how will such a championship will look? A
Women hang-gliding World with fewer pilots than a Class 2 one will be a very
poor message sent to all.
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