WGUK Manifesto

This is a draft document and we would like your comments. Even more, we’d like you to join in the initiative to get more women doing more gliding.  Let us know how we can do that and how you can help.

Overall Objective: The Women’s Development Initiative has been around since 2005; run by members of the British Women’s Gliding Team, its objective is to encourage more women into competition flying and specifically into international competition.  In 2012 we renamed the initiative Women Glide UK (WGUK) and opened a Facebook page to communicate to the wider women pilot community.

Our fundamental belief is that gliding is a sport where men and women compete on equal terms, but that because there are so few women in gliding there is a need for role-modelling and encouragement to ensure women fulfil this potential.  We want to see more women in gliding, but believe that achieving this is core British Gliding Association business.

WGUK’s focus and expertise is at the ‘top end’ helping committed pilots to improve their flying, encouraging them to compete and increasing their confidence and performance in competitions.

  • In this, we will work alongside the British Gliding Association to complement rather than duplicate any BGA initiatives to get more women into gliding.
  • We will actively seek to make our programme complementary to the Juniors’ development initiative to provide maximum coverage for up and coming competition pilots.
  • We will develop links with women glider pilots worldwide.

Having said we are at the top end, we hope to be the ‘top slice’ of a pyramid and cascade to the wider women’s movement which links to the third thread below.

What we do: There are three threads of WGUK activity:

1 Get more women flying competitions: WGUK aims to offer encouragement and training to increase participation in competition flying by:

  • holding at least one ground-school day each winter with pundit speakers and objectives setting open to all comers but at a level suitable for those who are getting into competition flying
  • running training weekends such as the Compette
  • offering coaching/mentoring at rated competitions

None of the above initiatives is limited to women, all comers are welcome – but the main focus of promotional activity will be to women.

2 Develop a Women’s squad: We aim to implement a coaching plan with the following key features:

  • a squad giving continuity of training for the top pilots, not just the Worlds team
  • a continuing coaching plan, where those in the squad work on improving their skills regardless of whether it is a Worlds year or not.
  • squad coaching weekends where technical flying specifics are targeted and coached after which pilots can go away and work on embedding those specifics
  • team coaching weekend early in Worlds year to work on team flying issues

3 Cascade to the wider women pilots’ community in order to raise the profile, confidence and expectations of women gliding in UK

  • encourage wider participation, networking and development of community spirit among women glider pilots through social media such as the Women Glide UK blog and Facebook page
  • make the initiative visible through the production of WGUK gear etc
  • Run Women Flying days (like is done at Dunstable) to get more women in the air – nationally…internationally?
  • Work with the next slice down to manage/promote the cascade

Measure of success:

In general we will review annually:

  • female pilot participation in competitions compared to the sport-wide percentage of pilots
  • position of women pilots in the UK rankings list
  • relative position of UK women compared to other women pilots in international rankings
  • participating pilots’ learning from the initiative

It’s very difficult to measure, but it seems to be having an effect as last summer we had more women flying in comps than ever before and we – for the first time ever – already have more people qualified than the 6 max we will take to the Worlds in 2013.  For the first time, in 2013 half of the mixed team flying the Unflapped Europeans will be women.  The current (Spring 2013) world No1 female glider pilot is a UK pilot.