UCI President Lappartient commits to gender equality in Agenda 2022

Gold medalist Germany's Kristina Vogel, Silver medalist Australia's Stephanie Morton and Bronze medalis Germany's Pauline Sophie Grabosch pose on the podium after taking part in the women's sprint final during the UCI Track Cycling World Championships

Gold medalist Germany's Kristina Vogel, Silver medalist Australia's Stephanie Morton and Bronze medalis Germany's Pauline Sophie Grabosch pose on the podium after taking part in the women's sprint final during the UCI Track Cycling World Championships (Image credit: Michael Aisner)

The UCI's Management Committee has approved the Agenda 2022 that includes a number of important structural initiatives concerning the sport governing body's future role in gender equality with in the sport.

In the agenda, the UCI promises to soon enforce a strict Code of Conduct to be signed by all employees of UCI Women's Teams, which aims to raise awareness of harassment. It will also develop and implement a Charter to promote gender equality in cycling, starting with a gender equality policy and the fundamental principles on its aim to implement equal pay within the organisation. Other topics outlined in the agenda include guaranteeing gender equality during podium ceremonies and providing equal prize money in its cyclo-cross World Cup.

President of the UCI, David Lappartient, said that the agenda, "contains crucial initiatives for guaranteeing equality between men and women, whether they be riders, Federation employees or any other women involved in our sport. It is essential that we all work together for this cause, which is one of my biggest priorities for action."

The is the second meeting that the committee has held, this time for three days in Arzon, France, where members debated and then validated the agenda, which is considered a road map to the next four years of professional cycling.

The agenda clarifies objectives in the five areas identified by Lappartient during his presidential campaign in 2017; to strengthen the UCI's authority with a President ensuring a solid leadership; to place the UCI increasingly at the service of National Federations; to make cycling the sport of the 21st Century; to develop an ambitious vision for professional cycling; and to ensure the credibility of sporting results and protect the athletes. The agenda will be published on the UCI website after its ratification by the Congress on September 28. However, the main focus was on the UCI's future and the role of women in cycling.

The agenda outlines several areas meant to improve the working conditions for women with in cycling. The new Code of Conduct will be enforced at the beginning of 2019 and onward. The document will be signed by all teams and then sent to the UCI along with the team's registration documents. The UCI also noted that failure to respect the Code of Conduct will result in sanctions being applied, in accordance with the UCI Code of Ethics.

The new Code of Conduct is meant to raise awareness of and increase responsibility around the harassment that certain riders may face, including from within their own teams.

The UCI administration has spent several months working on the development of a new Charter that will promote gender equality. According to the statement from the UCI, one of the first measures being developed is the creation of a gender equality policy within the UCI administration, which will form an integral part of the staff regulations and will also be available on the website.

The aim of the gender equality policy is to "guarantee equal, respectful and fair treatment for everyone, particularly with regards to recruitment, and ensuring that men and women are given the same professional opportunities," as stated by the UCI.

The sport governing body also noted that the Charter contains fundamental principles according to which the UCI wishes to implement equal pay, presumably within the organisation. Implementing a minimum wage in professional women's cycling has long been discussed, but has yet to come to fruition. The CPA women's chapter said it is aiming for a minimum wage and tiered system by 2019. 

The minimum wage for WorldTour and Pro Continental was set to rise in 2018 for the first time in five years, while there was no mention of a minimum salary for women's teams. UCI Management Committee member Bob Stapleton, formerly manager of the HTC-Highroad men's and women's teams, told Cyclingnews last fall that he is in favour of creating and enforcing a minimum salary rule as soon as possible, even if it might start out at a low figure.

Also in the agenda, the UCI Management Committee approved several measures designed to guarantee gender equality during podium ceremonies at the UCI World Championships. The policy will require UCI approval for all outfits worn by hosts and hostesses, or an equal representation of the two genders in these roles, will form part of the UCI World Championships Organisation Guides, and will come into effect from the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol (Austria).

There has been a recent push to remove podium hostesses from post-race ceremonies altogether, but Lappartient said in March that that will not be enforced by the UCI. He said that he is aware of the gender biases that go along with the traditional role but says that compromises can be made to have a more respectful protocol while retaining cycling's podium customs.

The UCI also touched on the issue of unequal prize money at events, and said that it has made changes to its own Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup by approving the distribution by the UCI of equal prize money for men and women in the different overall standings. In addition, prize money paid by organisers of the UCI World Cup series would gradually increase over three seasons, starting in 2019-2020, with a goal of reaching "perfect parity" in 2021-2022. The UCI will add a junior women's category to the series in the 2020-2021 season.

"This decision means that perfect gender parity in prize money paid by the UCI has now been reached across all disciplines and all UCI competitions," the statement read.

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