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The future of DUCs gender ratio
Forum Home »  General Discussion »  The future of DUCs gender ratio
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Kevin MacLeod
League Admin

Highland Huckers
Posts: 622

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Last Updated: Mon Jan 28, 2019
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Soon I will be sending out a survey to determine if DUC will be switching to the new gender rules that Ultimate Canada will be following. Currently our rule is the rule as stated in the 11th edition which says that the team going on offense can set the ratio. Over the past few years UC and USA ultimate have been experimenting with different rules and it looks like for the high level competitive ultimate it will be as follows. For the first point 1 team (after winning the disc flip) will choose whether they will start with 4 men and 3 women or vice versa. Then for points 2 and 3 it will be the opposite of the first point and for points 4 and 5 it will be the same as the first point. And then this pattern would continue for the rest of the game. As an example, if team winning the disc flip decides to go 4 men and 3 women for the first point, then points 2 and 3 would be 4 women and 3 men and then points 4 and 5 would be 4 men and 3 women. This way teams will be forced to play their women and men the same amount.

Whether or not DUC follows this rule for this year will depend on input from players as well as captains. Obviously players will probably be in favour of the switch if you just look at the equity of the situation, however, if captains feel that they do not have enough females to support playing 4 females then this is very important. At the moment teams probably carry 8-10 males and 5-7 females. If we make the switch then teams will move towards having a balance of the number of males to females. So teams might carry 9 guys and 9 girls. So for some teams they will have to get rid of some guys and find some new girls. Where will the guys that are "cut" go? Will they find new teams? Not likely if all teams are cutting guys. And can captains find more girls? This is a decision the league will have to take seriously because we do not want our membership to decline or the number of teams to go down. Below I have posted some numbers of the demographics of DUC. One thing that is not within these stats is how many people play 2 games. And do more males play a second game then females? If this is the case then the stats could be off. Somehow I need to find out this info. Start discussing this issue so when I get the survey out you can answer the questions intelligently. Oh and if you have any questions you want on the survey post them below.

gender.......age 12 and under.....13-17.....18-29.....30-39.....40-49.....50+ total adults
females............30.......................61...........88...........82...........60...........2........232........43%
males..............41......................103.........121..........101..........79...........17.......318........57%
total 550
Paul Atkinson
Team Admin
Winter Top Gun
Posts: 7

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Last Updated: Thu Jan 31, 2019
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I like the rule ( I've heard Peterborough is headed in this direction as well) though it's definitely inconvenient from a captain's perspective. I think it's something that we simply have to implement and deal with the consequences as they arise. Postponing the rule change is likely just delaying the inevitable. I will inform my guys that there is likely to be less playing time when the whole roster shows up ( which in summer is rare to begin with) and we can go from there.

If the plan is to implement this by the summer the sooner we have a decision the better.
Chad Johnston
Team Admin
Turf Warriors
Posts: 15

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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019
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The rule itself if fine. But, it's my understanding that DUC isn't turning away women looking to play ultimate. So, does DUC really want to start turning away men who want to play? Seems like a bad idea...

Unless, DUC is willing to create a "home" for the excess men -- say a men's only league? Which, rightfully so, would mean there's a women's only league, too. And, such a league MAY assist in attracting new female players...

Anyway, just kicking around some thoughts and ideas during my lunch break. But, suffice to say, I'm not in favour of this change at present.

Chad



Kelly-Anne Fagan
Team Admin
GO!
Posts: 12

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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019
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Hilderbogie wrote:
This way teams will be forced to play their women and men the same amount.
.
.
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At the moment teams probably carry 8-10 males and 5-7 females. If we make the switch then teams will move towards having a balance of the number of males to females. So teams might carry 9 guys and 9 girls.


Hey there,

This rule is GREAT!

I'm honestly a little confused about why you guys are saying there would be an excess of guys. As per Kevin's message, 8-10 men vs 9 men...sounds pretty much the same to me. My team generally has 8-9 men and 6-7 women, so the main difference I'd see is adding a couple extra women and keeping the men.

I think we need to focus on the intention of the rule, and that is gender equity in mixed Ultimate. Lots of great reads out there if you want to learn more, just Google it.
Chad Johnston
Team Admin
Turf Warriors
Posts: 15

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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019
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Kelly-Anne Fagan wrote:

...
As per Kevin's message, 8-10 men vs 9 men...sounds pretty much the same to me.
...


Sounding the same and being the same are, well, not the same...

So, hypothetical math time. There were 35 teams spread across Sundays and Wednesdays last year. Let's say each team had a roster of 9 men and 7 women. Now DUC implements that rule and each team adds a woman and drops a man. That's 35 men on the outside looking in. Unless of course we can find a total of 70 women -- 35 for the existing teams and another 35 for the guys no longer on teams.

This is an attempt to illustrate my point. Until we have better data from DUC on how many unique players there are -- male and female -- that's what we have to work with. And, no doubt there are other factors that I just haven't taken into consideration or thought of...

And, I'm not against the spirit of this rule. I'm for gender equality in the game. But, I'm pragmatic. And, until the overall number of female players essentially equals that of men, I'm not sure how we can adopt this rule change.

Chad
Rick St Jean
175 Grams of Ecstacy
Posts: 6

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Posted: Fri Feb 1, 2019
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If any lessons can be learned, they can be learned from Toronto's parity League. TPL went from 4/2 to 3/3, 2 years ago and the result was the number of women who play the game drastically increased. The number of men that were displaced was also increased but the net of it is that overtime the engagement of women will improve.

The cost is, that for an unforeseen future, guys will have a harder time finding teams. This is a fact. Ultimate Canada and bigger clubs are fine with this cost because equity, and political correctness. In the long term it should benefit the sport, and prove that ultimate really has a strong social justice foundation. Ultimate is uniquely situated to create equitable playing opportunities across the board.

Maybe to counter this, we could create a mini men's league in the same timeslot, or come up with other creative alternatives.

What if there was 1 timeslot with equity and the other timeslot legacy?

Matthew Thom
FLICK IT
Posts: 1

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Posted: Fri Feb 1, 2019
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From an outdoor Rec level perspective - I just want to get out, run around and have some fun - I'm sure a lot of you do too. We've got some big fields - how about an 8v8 league, 4/4 split, everybody wins!
Kelly-Anne Fagan
Team Admin
GO!
Posts: 12

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Last Updated: Fri Feb 1, 2019
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Another thing to consider in the numbers game is: the current DUC membership numbers are a function of the current gender ratio.

I think Rick is on to something with the TUC example. This change could mean growing the league.
Stacey Daigle
Team Admin
Top Marks
Posts: 4

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Posted: Mon Feb 4, 2019
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Several leagues (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa) and have all had people flag the same issues that Chad is highlighting.

The end result- the changes went through and the leagues are still functioning

I agree that there may be some growing pains while we adjust to the new ratio but I don't think holding the change until we get more women is the right answer. What will drive the change? What will bring more women in under the current gender ratio? If we keep the rule the same- we are not going to get more women playing.







LP Blouin
Team Admin
Smack Talk
Posts: 32

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Posted: Mon Feb 4, 2019
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Build it and they will come.
I think the rule makes sense. The format is a bit interesting. I wonder if they could have picked something more complicated that this: 1st point decides, then 2 and 3 are the reverse, then 4 and 5 going back to how you started the game. Teams in the summer have a hard time knowing what the score is and who pulled first... I guess they had to pick something.

I believe this rule can only be a good thing for the development of this league.
The number of summer teams has been declining (stagnant at best) in the last few years, so adding more women will help in the long run.
Kevin MacLeod
League Admin

Highland Huckers
Posts: 622

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Posted: Mon Feb 4, 2019
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Stacey Daigle wrote:
Several leagues (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa) and have all had people flag the same issues that Chad is highlighting.

The end result- the changes went through and the leagues are still functioning ;D



Please note that the leagues you mentioned all have over 3000 members while we only have 500. The Peterborough League, which is just as delicate as ours, made some changes to their Wednesday division a few years ago and the division collapsed the next year. I don't remember the changes they made but it was a 16 team division that was quite successful for many years.
Stacey Daigle
Team Admin
Top Marks
Posts: 4

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Posted: Tue Feb 5, 2019
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There were no rule changes that drove the demise of the Wednesday league in PUL.

The leagues in PUL run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Many of the PUL players didn't like playing two nights in a row and opted for Tuesday and Thursdays as their preferred nights.

Additionally, there was gap in the talent in the last couple of years in the Wednesday league. There were 2-3 teams who were consistently competitive and after that the level of play was not as high as a result of players moving to Tues/Thurs
Kelly-Anne Fagan
Team Admin
GO!
Posts: 12

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Posted: Tue Feb 5, 2019
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Thanks for the clarification Stacey!

I would like to add that Ultimate is an awesome sport and if people choose not to play a league, it's not going to be because of a gender ratio, it's going to be other factors.

For example, if I don't have enough men or women to make a team, I'm not going to just say "okay, I'm not going to play". I'm totally hooked!! So I'm going to find players and maybe it means bringing in new players and introducing them to this super fun sport. And then they get hooked (like most of us do) and the league grows.

LP raised an excellent point that summer league numbers seem to be dwindling even with the current gender ratio (4men:3women). Why is that? I understand the concern of cumulative effects, but if people still want to play they will find the players.

Going back to the "Why is that?". I don't know the answer, BUT maybe it would help if we all invest in our newer or less experienced players a bit more and be intentional about this (e.g. throw to that player on an easy in even if you see a better option, spend the extra time on the sidelines to make everyone feel welcome, read up on Spirit of the Game as a refresher and practice it on and off the field, etc.).

Anywho, my opinion is that the change has a decent chance of being successful for the long-term health of the league while also progressing in an equitable manner in line with the Spirit of the Game IF people still want to play.
Rick St Jean
175 Grams of Ecstacy
Posts: 6

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Posted: Wed Feb 6, 2019
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I think there should be a pilot. There isn't anything that says we have to go all in.

Parity did increase female participation, it didn't bring in new players, and it displaced many males. (There are twice as many guys that register as there are spots)

Honestly, I think it made a better game, but it was 3/3. Do we think it possible to do either a 3/3 or 4/4 game format? What if we created 3 cross fields on a pitch the size of indoor fields?

Ultimate is mostly a hippy feelgood sport which is focused on doing the right thing more than growing the sport. This is not a negative statement, but is a fact often overlooked.

Equity isn't fair, it's not equality, but is it about diverting from those who have more to those who have less.


Matthew Thom
Fluffy Monkey’s
Posts: 1

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Posted: Thu Feb 7, 2019
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Should be easy to start with the Summer and Fall Hat leagues - technically no one is on a team yet, so no one will be displaced...except people that always sign up late! Could aim for 8-12 teams with a 7M/7F roster. Success in the summer would translate to Fall and hopefully a renewed Winter Parity League. Hat leagues are also a great opportunity to bring new players in and grow the league.
Kevin MacLeod
League Admin

Highland Huckers
Posts: 622

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Posted: Fri Feb 8, 2019
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I have been considering doing the 7 pm Sunday division with the new rules and then running the 5 pm with the old rules and allowing people to choose.

As for playing sideways with less players as Rick suggested, I used to be against any change in the outdoor game from 7V7 to 5V5 or 6V6 but I have been changing my mind lately. Many leagues are offering it in the interest of keeping people in the game and increasing the number of touches per player. With 5V5 the disc gets spread around more. The smaller field takes away the big hucks/long runs which some people love and others hate. There are definite pros and cons of both 7V7 and 5V5. Perhaps we run our Wednesday league this way? Or perhaps one of the divisions on Sunday gets dedicated to this type of game.

Keep up the good discussion!
Kevin MacLeod
League Admin

Highland Huckers
Posts: 622

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Posted: Fri Feb 8, 2019
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Matthew Thom wrote:
Should be easy to start with the Summer and Fall Hat leagues - technically no one is on a team yet, so no one will be displaced...except people that always sign up late! Could aim for 8-12 teams with a 7M/7F roster. Success in the summer would translate to Fall and hopefully a renewed Winter Parity League. Hat leagues are also a great opportunity to bring new players in and grow the league.


Every year I run fall we end up with exactly enough player per team for 10-11 guys and 6 or 7 girls for a total of 8 teams. If you do the math you could only have 6 teams with this number of girls and 26-30 guys would lose their spot.
Kevin MacLeod
League Admin

Highland Huckers
Posts: 622

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Last Updated: Fri Feb 8, 2019
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Kelly-Anne Fagan wrote:
Going back to the "Why is that?". I don't know the answer, BUT maybe it would help if we all invest in our newer or less experienced players a bit more and be intentional about this (e.g. throw to that player on an easy in even if you see a better option, spend the extra time on the sidelines to make everyone feel welcome, read up on Spirit of the Game as a refresher and practice it on and off the field, etc.).

Anywho, my opinion is that the change has a decent chance of being successful for the long-term health of the league while also progressing in an equitable manner in line with the Spirit of the Game IF people still want to play.


Well said Kelly! Why do players leave ultimate? I have been trying to figure this out for a long time. From my experience one major reason we are not getting growth is the lack of captains/organizers. Captains definitely determine whether teams are created or fall apart. Over the past few years I have been amazed, in a bad way, that when a captain decides that they can no longer be the captain, that usually that team just folds. No one steps up to the plate. Captains are a rare and very valuable commodity. They hold teams together. As LP stated the numbers are kind of stagnant or declining at the moment. Part of that is because with the creation of teams like Hhound and FOXX many of the people who have the skills and knowledge to run teams are no longer doing that because they are too busy. Or not doing as much as they used to in the leagues. As and example, some players used to run two teams and now they are only running one.
I wish I had more time to continue but I have to go teach. LOL.
Will Nathan
Team Admin
Spin
Posts: 10

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Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019
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I can see both sides. If I have to displace some males on the team I'm not going to feel great about doing that, but that being said I think all 2.5 (2 winter teams and assistant captain for BMH) have great ladies and most of them are more reliable than the guys. but I'm also in a position where we have likely enough females on all the teams to not need to add more than 1.

I know we're currently discussing summer, and don't want to bring your thread too off topic, but how does this work with speed point? (Sunday I assume would be 3/3 even, but specifically Tuesday)
Paul Atkinson
Team Admin
Winter Top Gun
Posts: 7

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Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019
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I think winter is a whole other discussion, I could manage the change in summer with moderate impact, if we have to go 3/3 in Sunday winter it will literally blow up my teams.
Pat Dwyer
Team Admin
The Usual Suspects
Posts: 1

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Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019
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I fully support this change. I welcome the opportunity to provide more playing time and space on teams for female players. I also welcome the challenge of finding more female players. This could be an opportunity for many of us to reach out to others and get them involved in the sport.

I hope that we change the rule for both the 5pm and 7pm division, but I know this will likely come down to a vote.

As mentioned, the numbers for summer are currently stagnant. It's possible this change could lead to more female participation in the sport. I don't necessarily think men will be displaced from the league. We may find it's more difficult for men to play at both 5pm and 7pm for now, but I think the benefits outweigh those possible costs.

I like the idea of both a men's league and a women's league at some point if we feel the membership could support it. The proposals to play on a smaller field with fewer players are also interesting. That could be an interesting way to run Wednesday or even on another night depending on interest.
Kyle McCaughey
Team Admin
Shark Bait
Posts: 4

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Last Updated: Wed Feb 13, 2019
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To start, I'm in favour of this rule....eventually
Never once have I heard of a female struggling to find spot on a team when I've heard many times that teams don't have room for guys or that if you want to join you have to bring a female with you.
Last year at the captains meeting I pushed for DUC to implement that the receiving team dictates gender and this year I will push for DUC to implement the end zone gender rule. For those who are unaware, it will make one end zone the gender deciding end zone for one half and at half time it will flip to the other end zone. The main key to this rule is that it is still a choice, if your team is on the end zone side you can choose either 4 girls or guys. This way you could still end up playing with 4 girls minimum 50% of the time but could potentially be 50%+ as well.

I feel like this way it would be more of a half way point between the proposed 2 point gender rule to start. If we see a decent number of teams doing this throughout the summer then I would say there would be more support behind the rule and at least some more time to prepare for this next summer.
Chad Johnston
Team Admin
Turf Warriors
Posts: 15

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Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019
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Paul Atkinson wrote:
I like the rule ( I've heard Peterborough is headed in this direction as well) though it's definitely inconvenient from a captain's perspective. I think it's something that we simply have to implement and deal with the consequences as they arise. Postponing the rule change is likely just delaying the inevitable. I will inform my guys that there is likely to be less playing time when the whole roster shows up ( which in summer is rare to begin with) and we can go from there.

If the plan is to implement this by the summer the sooner we have a decision the better.

-----------------------------------------------------

I think winter is a whole other discussion, I could manage the change in summer with moderate impact, if we have to go 3/3 in Sunday winter it will literally blow up my teams.


Now hold on. You're okay with the rule in the summer because it doesn't impact you. But, don't make the change in the winter as it will blow up your teams? Well, welcome to a lot of teams worlds in the summer I suspect. You can't have it both ways...

I was a captain in the summer and one thing I got tired of was trying to find female players. There wasn't much help from the league on that front either - no offense to Kevin or the executive. For whatever reason, it's just more difficult to find female players in the summer...

I think we should be trying to find ways to get more women playing and reach equality naturally and not by jettisoning male players to reach a manufactured equality.

Kevin, is the league going to implement a pickup night or something through the summer for those possibly displaced by this proposed rule change?

Anyway, trying to keep my reply short and not go off on a rant...
John Colligan
HOT D
Posts: 1

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Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019
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This rule is good in intention and i think bad in application. I agree with Chad that we should try for this over time.

I often see in the summer rec levels, teams playing short because of not enough women. One Wednesday team last year took advantage of the gender rule by intentionally oversubscribing on females.

Nuance is often the solution to these types of problems. Some nuanced ideas are:

1.) This rule should be reviewed seasonally regardless of how the vote falls.

2.) We should have a "data-driven" way to assess male to female participation based on actua game attendance, not rostering. This could avoid the politics of the scenario. Anecdotally, in my short time in this league, we have been undersubscribed on females, not over subscribed. I would like to see what actual attendance data says . If we have teams, especially REC level, where they have to play 6 vs 7 due to the new gender rule, than that is just bad ultimate. Doesn't solve anything. Especially when they are males sitting on the sideline....

2 cents.

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