It’s reigning men, and the FEI is pushing to do something about it

FEI Bureau members on the first day of the FEI General Assembly in Montreux.
Here’s how the FEI Bureau looked on the first day of the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, in 2013. The current bureau has three women. © Edouard Curchod

It has always intrigued me that women dominate the competitive ranks of horse sport, yet the highest level of the sport’s administration is awash with testosterone.

A colleague rather bluntly refers to it as a sausage-fest, but I couldn’t possibly say that.

It’s interesting to ponder why. Are women being discriminated against or do they not aspire to such lofty roles? Perhaps they have better things to do.

Most of us would avoid the travails of sports administration like the plague, but for those who aspire to these roles, one would have to suspect that discrimination plays a role in the lack of women in the highest positions.

I was lucky enough to report on sport every weekend for nearly eight years. Nothing beats sitting in the sun on a Saturday afternoon watching a decent sporting contest. You quickly learn that good sports administrators, from club-level organizers to the senior ranks are, to use a well worn cliche, worth their weight in gold.

But alongside them are plenty of pedants and power-hungry administrators who do their sport no favours.

So, it’s refreshing that the FEI, in calling this week for nominations for some of the most senior roles in horse sport, is urging national federations to nominate female candidates and representatives from developing nations.

Developing nations need and want a greater say in horse sport. And women need to have a greater say in how things are run at this level.

Whether this push for greater diversity plays out as it should remains to be seen. However, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

For the record, the current FEI Bureau comprises three women and 15 men.

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