On International Women’s Day 2021, British Fencing announces the launch of its Developing People Programme (DPP) for female mentors, to increase the number of female performance mentors and improve the provision of female role models within fencing in the UK.
Whilst Fencing is seen by many as a sport that provides equal opportunities for all genders, our equality and diversity surveys tell us that there is still a way to go towards gender parity in all areas of participation. Whilst the Board is proud of its approximately 50/50 makeup, there are still areas where women are not well represented.
At BF we are committed to progressing towards achieving gender parity and greater diversity generally, specifically regarding both the Board and the leadership of the sport, including the Senior executive. One of the specific targets set out in the board’s diversity statement is to implement mentoring schemes to support women in fencing. You can read more about our commitment to gender parity in the full Board statement and objectives here.
During recent discussions with weapon teams, athletes, coaches and referees, several female participants identified a desire to grow their skills and knowledge of mentoring in order to become role models within the sport and help others.
Following these discussions, BF invited eight female delegates to join its new Developing People Programme (DPP) for female mentors.
In the first stage of the programme, the eight participants have all been paired with a senior mentor. The senior mentors are all coaches or staff members with BF and have been through DPP or other mentoring programmes themselves. The senior mentors will pass on their knowledge and experience of mentoring to the delegates.
The DPP is delivered through a process of facilitated learning and development with applied practical, reflective practice and action learning sets. Over the next few months, the eight delegates will learn about mentoring and coaching through online content and online sessions. When restrictions allow, they will progress to face to face sessions with more practical learning and sharing. They will then go on to mentor two of their own mentees over a six week period, before presenting their learnings and reflections.
We will share more about the programme as it proceeds, including discussion about the motivation for the programme and updates from participants as they progress through the DPP.
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