We envision ultimate to be a sport where women feel fully included. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for many women in the VUL.
We hear anecdotally and in surveys about the challenges women encounter playing ultimate. Women get thrown to less frequently, are less likely to be handlers, and are less frequently in leadership roles.
In order to shift our co-ed leagues towards gender equity, the VUL runs several programs and initiatives for women as highlighted below.
We recognize that this process also requires our efforts to:
- Increase the awareness that women experience the game differently than men
- Support women to be equipped with knowledge and skills on the field
- Support women to take on leadership positions
- Promote women playing ultimate
- Highlight the efforts of others working towards gender equity
Throughout the year, we run Women in Ultimate clinics for women, led by women. See the calendar for any upcoming clinics.
In the Fall, we run a popular Women’s League. Each team is assigned 1-2 women as mentors who have years of experience playing ultimate.
Women’s Intermediate Bootcamp
Every spring, we run a 6-week Intermediate Women’s Bootcamp led by women's touring players.
Gender Balance Rule
In Fall 2016, we introduced the Gender Balance Rule to increase opportunities for women to play more frequently. With the new rule, an endzone is chosen at the start of the game and whichever team is in that endzone chooses the gender ratio for that point: either 4W:3M or 4M:3W, where “W” is women-matching players, and “M” are men-matching players. See the Gender Balance Rule page for more info.
Each team is requited to have at least two captains of different genders.
During Summer League, we host a dedicated week to showcase women in our community and encourage teams to be more inclusive of women. We hope this helps all players become more aware of how women often experience the game, and leads to women having more active, engaged, and equitable roles on the team.
Women Represented Promotion
When promoting events, tournaments, leagues, etc. we aim to ensure women are represented in the marketing materials (i.e. photos, posters, flyers, etc.) and in leadership positions.
Discounts for Pairs & Trios that include Women
For Hat leagues, we offer a discount for Duos and Trios that have at least 1 woman-matching player. Our Hat leagues usually have more men+ players than women+ players, so this serves as a way to encourage men to find women to help ensure we have balanced numbers for the league.
#ThrowToMe Women's Campaign
In Summer 2018, we ran a campaign to increase the awareness of women's experiences in ultimate by featuring a story in each of the 15 weeks of Summer League. You can read them in our #throwtome article.
How to Recruit & Retain Women for Your Team
In 2019, we asked 100 captains how they recruit and retain women for their team, and published the results.