Communiqué on Gender Equity

Initial Action Plan

The following document is a joint initial Gender Equity Strategy Plan from the Management teams of the Toronto Rush and the Ottawa Outlaws. 

As both teams are finalizing rosters, the players, coaches and leadership will be meeting as a team and will be creating their own player centric message which we will share in the coming weeks.

We love ultimate. We love the potential that the sport has both competitively and recreationally. 

The Gender Equity (GE) movement in Ultimate has turned our organizational focus towards trying to understand what GE really means to the Toronto Rush and the Ottawa Outlaws. Although we have had multiple discussions with women’s teams in Toronto (6ixers) and in Ottawa (Stella) and reached out to leaders in the women’s ultimate community to solicit their input on how our teams could support GE, we now understand that our outward silence has spoken volumes, no matter our intentions. 

In mid-February, we proposed a pilot project that included full length games in Toronto and Ottawa, to include full video coverage and full fan experience. We felt this showed our commitment to promoting women’s ultimate, but we were not able to get both teams to proceed with the plan. 

From this experience the Rush and Outlaws Management learned a valuable lesson: we need to become more informed on Gender Equity. We need to start by educating ourselves, our players, and even our valued business partners on the topic of equity. We must hold ourselves accountable and put in the work to learn about these concepts and to be better allies. We also learned that, although GE is a broad movement, our approach will be most effective if we focus on our local communities. Cities are different. Ultimate communities are different. Approaches should address these differences.

Today we are presenting our initial draft of a “3-Point Plan” to gain a better understanding of GE so that we can move to the next phase where we work collaboratively to create and implement a more formalized GE Policy.

We recognize that this plan is far from perfect and will require additional work and focus but both organizations are committed to learn and evolve.


1. Listen and Learn

We will host an Open Meeting in each city (Toronto and Ottawa) and invite all members of the local communities to discuss GE in a format that encourages free dialogue. We will prioritize the work that we need to do internally as an organization with frank and open discussions on topics such as intersectionality, toxic masculinity, and male privilege.

2. Messaging and Tone

We will ensure that all messaging via social and digital media from our teams and players will highlight the positive attributes of our sport, its players, and its inclusive values. Rush and Outlaws management teams will encourage players to use their personal media platforms to speak out and share their perspectives on GE. Rush and Outlaws players will be held to the high standards expected from athletes that are role models to others.


3. Hire Expertise

Both teams will immediately create a Gender Equity Awareness/Advocacy role on their management teams to focus on the following:

  • Help define the role to ensure that GE becomes embedded into the organization’s DNA with a goal of making the position a permanent role for 2019.
  • Act as a liaison to the team to provide input on events, meetings, programs, and local market trends to ensure that we are visible and actively promoting and contributing to these events.
  • Collaborate and leverage any existing relationships between both teams’ liaisons (Toronto and Ottawa) in order to address local and regional issues (across Ontario) affecting both teams.
  • Solidify the formal GE policy for both teams for implementation prior to the 2019 season.

 

Summary

As previously stated, this is merely the first step in what will be a journey for both organizations. We will undoubtedly encounter some setbacks along the way where we make mistakes but we will work to learn from those mistakes. 

The Rush and Outlaws would like to thank those in the community that have provided their input and counsel on helping us with this important first step.