OCUA Announces New Gender Equity Initiatives

OCUA is committed to advancing gender equity in our community and we are proud to share our new gender vision with membership.
OCUA Gender Equity Vision
OCUA recognizes gender as a spectrum. We are striving to achieve a membership that is reflective of our Ottawa community with an equal representation of women and men (cis and trans) as well as increased representation of trans, non-binary, and two-spirit players.

In support of this vision, we are announcing two new gender equity initiatives for mixed gender leagues:

1. Adopting WFDF Rule B (Endzone Chooses) as the default play format for 7v7 leagues
7v7 mixed gender Ultimate has been played at OCUA with a 4O:3W on-field ratio (4 open players and 3 women players) for many years.  Inherently, this means that men and women are not afforded the same opportunity for field time. WFDF has since introduced Ratio Rules A and B as two optional mechanisms for improving gender equity on the field that allow for both 4O:3W and 3O:4W ratios to be used as follows:
  • Rule A (“prescribed ratio” rule): At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the gender ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be the same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern). Ref WFDF Rules A6.2

  • Rule B (“endzone decides” rule): At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting which end zone is "End zone A", with the other end zone becoming "End zone B". At the start of each point the Team that is at End zone A must choose the gender ratio. This process applies for the first half. For the second half, at the start of each point the Team that is at End zone B must choose the gender ratio. Ref WFDF Rules A6.3

​​Both of these options offer advantages and disadvantages. Rule A ensures that there will be gender-balanced play time within a game but may be difficult for some teams to fulfill without providing the flexibility and time to adjust rosters. Rule B, by contrast, provides more flexibility but does not guarantee gender equity should teams continue to opt for the traditional 4O:3W ratio.

OCUA is committed to achieving gender equity and plans to improve the recruitment and retention of women to the point that Rule A can be broadly adopted. OCUA members have expressed a desire for gender equity but also requested time to adjust their rosters. This is why OCUA has chosen to adopt Rule B for Summer as the first step of a transition plan towards Rule A in the coming years.  From Summer 2023 onwards, the percentage of league offerings using Rule A will be increased in line with what is sustainable by membership demographics.  

2. ​Introducing new gender roster categories
​Sports typically operate within a gender binary framework: women’s divisions, men’s divisions, and co-ed divisions. At OCUA, we recognize that gender is actually a spectrum. We want players with diverse genders to feel welcome and included while also ensuring a fair playing experience for all. To that end, we are pleased to announce our new gender roster categories for mixed gender leagues, which came into effect the Summer 2022 season: 

  • Women, Non-Binary, and Two-Spirit (WN2): may include women (cis and trans), non-binary players, and two-spirit players
  • Open, Non-Binary, and Two-Spirit (ON2): may include men (cis and trans), women (cis and trans), non-binary players, and two-spirit players

We do not distinguish between cis- and trans- for purposes of roster categories. Non-binary and two-spirit players may participate as their authentic selves, without having to conform to the man/woman binary in order to play Ultimate. Instead, women, non-binary, and two-spirit members will have the choice of joining WN2 or ON2 based on their preferred and most appropriate match-up on the field.*  

OCUA respects the gender identity of each of its members and will never require proof of gender. We trust our members and expect gender identification and preferred match-up selection to be made honestly, with Spirit of the Game in mind, and never with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage. 

* Please note: Our online registration system is currently unable to accommodate these changes, but we do not want this technological barrier to restrict positive change. We are working hard to implement these changes on time for Summer registration but ask members to please bear with us as we make these adjustments. In the meantime, we encourage teams to start adopting these terms in practice (for example, while assembling team rosters and arranging for subs).

With the introduction of these two new initiatives, OCUA will incorporate our new gender roster categories into Rule B such that WN2 replaces Women and ON2 replaces Open.

We appreciate your support in helping us make OCUA an inclusive place for people of diverse genders. We would like to especially thank captains in advance for embracing gender equity as much as possible on their teams.
If you have any questions about these exciting new gender equity initiatives and how they will impact you, please check out our FAQ section.  
Conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion are constantly evolving. We are collectively learning and striving for better within our organization. If you have questions or concerns beyond what is captured in the FAQ document, please reach out to inclusion@ocua.ca. We would also love to hear from you if you are happy with the direction we are taking.