Clare Egan is the sole female representative on the IBU Executive Board ©Getty Images

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) have made a united call for members to accelerate efforts to end sexism, upon the conclusion of the joint IBU-IBSF Gender Equity Forum.

Prominent athletes, experts in the field and stakeholders of both sports gathered for the three-day event - staged between May 4 and yesterday in Munich - to discuss strategies which can lead to transformation.

Presentations, panel discussions and six-person workshops, designed to be an ideal debating platform, were held across the three days.

Professor Kari Fasting, a member of the IBU Gender Equality Working Group and the winner of Europe's 2021 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women and Sport Award, was an expert speaker.

"Sport is still driven by masculine connotations to gender, which results in culturally established barriers for women such as discrimination in access and treatment and gender stereotypes," Fasting said.

"Leaders in sports organisations must implement strategies and measures which include the gender perspective in every part of its work to compensate these disadvantages and thus guarantee that women and men operate on a level playing field.

"It is about changing the culture and structure of sport and its organisations to ensure opportunities for equal access to all roles connected to the sport and its administration.

"It also requires leaders to treat different people with different needs differently to create a fair and just culture within an organisation."

Kelsey Dickinson and Titus Clark noted the importance of having female leaders ©Getty Images
Kelsey Dickinson and Titus Clark noted the importance of having female leaders ©Getty Images

The United States' Kelsey Dickinson and Britain's Titus Clark joined the forum as IBU athlete ambassadors to discuss the importance of female leadership being visible.

Austria’s three-time Olympian Benjamin Maier and Britain’s Nicola Minichiello, a two-woman bobsleigh world champion in 2009, participated as IBSF athlete ambassadors alongside Poland's three-time Olympic biathlete Weronika Nowakowska and Czech four-time Olympic biathlete Michal Šlesingr to discuss the challenges of parenthood when a competing athlete.

Minichiello is also the coordinator of the American Cup.

German car manufacture BMW provided information on its strategy towards gender equality while representatives of the IOC and the secretary generals of the IBU and IBSF also conducted presentations.

"Seeing the passionate engagement of our participants at this Forum over the last three days, shows me that not only to us, the IBSF, gender equity is an important matter but also to our National Federations, athletes and stakeholders," IBSF President Ivo Ferriani said.

Ferriani, an IOC member, is also the Global Association of International Sports Federations President.

Benjamin Maier spoke on a panel at the Gender Equity Forum ©Getty Images
Benjamin Maier spoke on a panel at the Gender Equity Forum ©Getty Images

"We all play a crucial role in the pursuit of accelerating gender equity.

"It is an ongoing journey where every step forward counts, not matter how small it is."

IBU President Olle Dahlin echoed these comments but added there must be an effort to "address perceptions and behaviours" to ensure they inflict positive long-term change.

"We need to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes and gender roles," Dahlin said.

"That is what this Forum is all about.

"It is only when we better engage the women leaders in our sports that we will be able to realise our sport’s true potential."

Of the nine members of the IBU Executive Board, only athletes' representative Clare Egan is a woman.

Two women are on the nine-person IBSF Executive Committee, although secretary general Heike Größwang does not have voting rights.