Time To Catch Up: an equal playing field for men and women

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Every field hockey club that ABN AMRO sponsors must give equal treatment and equal roles to men and women in the sport. This requirement was announced with last week’s launch of the programme ‘Time To Catch Up’. As the numbers show, it is high time to catch up!

Field hockey is a wonderful sport, and one that prides itself on fair play. Strangely, however, that sense of fairness seems to go out of the window when it comes to the roles of men and women. To this day, sports are still dominated by men – even hockey, where women make up two thirds of the players.

Events committees

A quick look at the numbers reveals just how far behind women are in field hockey. Eight out of ten club presidents are male. None of the clubs has a woman as its treasurer. Among Dutch teams, seven out of ten have a male coach; for first teams, this is nine out of ten. Men are paid more in hockey as well, earning up to ten times as much as women. And 80 percent of all sponsorship money goes to men’s hockey – probably because the sponsorship committees are also overwhelmingly made up of men. The few women in leadership roles generally only make it as far as club secretary or the events committee.

Equal opportunities

As one of the principal sponsors of field hockey, ABN AMRO is also a strong advocate of equal opportunities. Last Thursday, we kicked off ‘Time To Catch Up’: a new programme that requires all clubs and tournaments that ABN AMRO sponsors to achieve greater equality by 2025. That equality extends across various aspects of the sport: from player salaries and female coaching numbers to the availability of sports facilities for women.

‘Time To Catch Up’ follows another programme, launched last year, to guide hockey clubs towards greater sustainability. The purpose of the new programme is to achieve equal opportunities for everyone. Although the focus for now is on equality for women, the programme will be extended to include the sponsorship department’s existing equal-opportunity initiatives for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and athletes with disabilities.

Participation is not voluntary: any club that wants to keep enjoying the sponsorship that ABN AMRO provides must commit to the programme’s goals. All sponsored clubs will be contractually obliged to spend at least 30 percent of their sponsorship funding on improving the club’s sustainability and/or creating an optimal diversity policy.

Faces of the programme

Jorrit Croon (Bloemendaal hockey club) and Maria Verschoor (Amsterdam hockey club) are the programme’s faces. They appear together in the video, where they deliver a piercing message about what ‘Time To Catch Up’ means and why it is so important. 

“Performing at the highest level is very demanding, and it’s worth every ounce of effort,” Maria explains. “But in this day and age it’s simply unacceptable that women should always have to work harder to organise their lives. Equal opportunities in sport, equal opportunities in life.” 

Jorrit agrees entirely. “It’s unbelievable that women should be forced to make much greater sacrifices for their achievements in this sport. It’s high time to catch up.”

Further information

If you would like to share information about our initiatives for improving sustainability and equal opportunities in field hockey with your clients or business associates, send them the link to De club van morgen on ABN AMRO.com. For information about the ‘Time To Catch Up’ programme, to share with your own hockey club, send an email to hockeysponsoring@nl.abnamro.com.

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