We envision Ultimate as a sport where women feel fully included. But, 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. For example, women get thrown to less frequently, are less likely to be handlers, and are less often in leadership roles.
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:
* Note: When we refer to women or men, we include self-identifying, non-binary and trans folks.
- 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
We offer our popular Women’s League in the fall and winter. Each team is assigned 1-2 women as mentors with years of experience playing ultimate.
Women's Boot Camp
We offer a 6-week Women’s Boot Camp year-round. Women's touring players lead this program.
Gender Balance Rule
Introduced in the Fall of 2016, 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 required 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 leadership positions.
Discounts for Pairs & Trios that include Women
We offer a discount for Duos and Trios with at least one woman-matching player in our Hat Leagues. 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
We ran a campaign in the summer of 2018 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
We asked 100 captains in 2019 how they recruit and retain women for their team, and published the results.