WFencing co-founder Iris Zimmermann, Olympian, Club Owner, Performance Coach and Community Leader.
Hi WFencing Members!
Happy Spring to all of you! The world of fencing is slowly getting back on its feet with some success and some failures. What I know many of us are looking forward to this year is the return of the world stage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games where the best gather to compete. Although there is a ton of excitement, it is also a good time to note the continued inequalities within the sport as we look at the backgrounds of the team coaches, cadre, and selected referees.
During the NCAA’s we saw two female coaches go head to head in the Women’s Basketball final, we have seen a female referee step out onto the Super Bowl field, and we continue to see USA Women’s soccer fight and demand equal pay because they are worth it. The struggle for us in fencing is great and we formed WFencing because we wanted to make sure that there was a way for marginalized voices to be amplified and to hold the organizations and stakeholders accountable to creating new and inclusive systems. For the past eight eight months, I have been entrenched in working on the USOPC Social and Racial Justice Council.
Here is an article on the release of our first recommendation for Protests and Demonstrations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will be continued pressure from the top of the USOPC that will push sport National Governing Bodies and other entities to ensure that they are dismantling and discrediting overt and subtle acts of racism and inequality within their organizations. What was once tolerated will have a light shine on it and no longer be tolerated, however, this work takes time, continuous effort, and many people with the vision of racial and social justice working together.
WFencing is in its infancy of our organization, but we continue to grow together. We are committed to ensuring that there is an entity that sees you, that hears you, and that wants to drive change that will ultimately benefit the growth and inclusion of this sport we all love. If you have any questions or want to reach out, we encourage you do so because we are stronger together.
Citius, Altius, Fortius,
Iris and the WFencing Team
Referee Commission Chair
WFencing is a nonprofit organization committed to uphold the mission of the Olympic dream as it extends to the American professional sport fencing community. We work to achieve diversity, unity and equity among all fencing professionals no matter race, gender, or geographic location in the United States.
Who are we?
We are coaches, fencing professionals, parents and athletes who believe increasing diversity among fencing professionals will greater unify Team USA, reduce SafeSport complaints, and increase participation in collegiate and club fencing nationwide. Through creating clear pathways for professional development we will accelerate our competitive sport environment. Tomorrow we will be bigger, better and stronger.
WFencing organized as a response to overt disparities of leadership heavily tilted towards one gender.
WFencing is creating best practices, consultative groups, organizational transparency models, and collaboration platforms through this crisis of Covid-19. We need unifiers to support each other today, so we can produce better fencing tomorrow.