RIGHT TO REPLY – PWA
Firstly, let us make it clear that the PWA has always strived to promote equality and to achieve more for the women’s division, and if it was simply our choice, then things would be very different, but things are not quite so straightforward. Although we do not disagree with the ideals contained in Lena’s article, there are some points that do not necessarily represent a balanced view of the situation and there are certain circumstances that the reader should be aware of to have a better understanding of the challenges faced and why the specific situations mentioned exist.
The PWA represents all aspects of the sport at a professional level – women, men and across the disciplines and the industry. Sadly we do not have the luxury of simply deciding to create parity between the divisions as happened in surfing. We are bound by market forces to some extent and currently sponsors and event organisers are just not willing to cooperate. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the PWA does not just sit on a huge fund each year and decide where and when to spend it. Each event is individually funded and we can only guide and shape how those funds are allocated to a certain extent before we risk losing the event altogether if our goals are different from the sponsors’ or local organisers’ desires. The same is true with the disciplines – if an event partner is willing to work to raise the money needed and organise a Slalom event, we cannot just tell them they must run Freestyle. We can encourage, cajole, educate and even try to price events in a way that will guide them in that direction, but we cannot force them if they really do not want to, as they will just cancel the event or maybe look at another sport instead.