At its meeting in Cavtat-Dubrovnik (CRO) in June 2019, the FIS Council approved a joint proposal of the Gender Equity Working Group, the Sub-Committees for Women’s Cross-Country and Alpine Skiing, as well as the Athletes Commission to change the official FIS terminology from “Ladies” to “Women” in all applicable places, i.e. documents, titles, web site, technical materials, official communications and using gender neutral terminology in FIS publications.
Since then, much has happened within the FIS administration to implement the changes. The project is now nearing completion, more than one year after it was started. Nevertheless, the action remains an on-going work in progress with seasonal documents and other ad-hoc documents that will be adapted with next editions.
The FIS IT department changed all references from “ladies” or “L” to “women” or “W” in the FIS database, calendars and athlete pages and the FIS Communications department undertook the mammoth task to work through the entirety of FIS documents across all disciplines and departments in search of passages that had to be changed according to the new standards. In addition, also every page of the website was scanned for gendered language and the term “ladies”. Silke Tegethof, FIS Communications and Nordic Combined Media Coordinator has led this huge task and deserves a special mention for accomplishing its complex coordination and harmonisation throughout the FIS documentation in all disciplines and other general areas.
In total, over 550 documents in the FIS document library were scanned, adapted and changed in addition to 22 sub-sections of the website, each containing multiple documents as well. Besides the term “ladies”, mostly words referencing to the male gender only like “he”, “his”, “him”, “himself” or “Chairman” were identified and replaced with inclusive solutions.
Sarah Lewis FIS Secretary General said, “Language shapes reality and people’s perception at an unconscious level and therefore the language in our publications and rules needs to reflect that FIS and our Sport stands for full participation and activity for all genders. It is clear that women and men can both be technical delegates, judges, officials, athletes, team support staff and all other roles which needs to be mirrored in our texts. This reinforces that the organisation and FIS activities are open, inviting and inclusive for all, no matter what they identify as.”