Women win equal ten­nis court time

Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal or­der as­so­ci­a­tion to im­pose equal­ity

Annex Post - - NEWS - ––Jes­sica Wei

Fiona Miller was just look­ing for the same court time as her male ten­nis play­ing co­horts at the Moore Park Ten­nis Club. But her ef­forts to change the league for­mat at the In­terCounty Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion (ICTA), which runs com­pet­i­tive leagues around Toronto and through­out On­tario, proved un­suc­cess­ful. So she took the as­so­ci­a­tion to court and she won.

A judge with the Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal of On­tario (HRTO) has handed down a de­ci­sion to the com­pet­i­tive ten­nis as­so­ci­a­tion that will im­pose gen­der par­ity for an On­tario-wide Mixed League that has given men twice as many op­por­tu­ni­ties to play since it be­gan in 1962.

“I did feel that it was time for the as­so­ci­a­tion to of­fer equal­ity in their evening league,” said Fiona Miller, who has been play­ing ten­nis for ap­prox­i­mately 10 years. She is the pres­i­dent of the Moore Park Ten­nis Club but filed the com­plaint as an in­di­vid­ual, along with Cathy Boyd and Ch­eryll Cor­ness, both mem­bers of the Dav­isville Ten­nis Club.

The ICTA al­lows clubs from across On­tario to com­pete against each other. The Mixed League, which con­sists of around 160 teams across On­tario, has a gen­der ra­tio of eight men to four women. The de­ci­sion on July 12 or­dered ICTA to im­ple­ment a staged ap­proach to­ward gen­der par­ity for all skill lev­els, be­gin­ning with their be­gin­ner-to-in­ter­me­di­ate C level in the 2019 sea­son.

“I don’t un­der­stand the re­luc­tance to ac­tu­ally share the court time,” said Miller. “We think it’s a sim­ple is­sue: Equal­ity or not.”

The ICTA has called a spe­cial mem­bers’ meet­ing for Aug. 1 to vote on whether to ac­cept the de­ci­sion or file a re­quest for re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

“The rea­son why we would want to chal­lenge that de­ci­sion is be­cause we strongly be­lieve that the tri­bunal ba­si­cally ig­nored or maybe mis­un­der­stood the re­al­i­ties con­nected with the lev­els of play,” said Sonja Zibin, ICTA vi­cepres­i­dent. “We don’t dis­crim­i­nate against women. It’s a mat­ter of ap­pro­pri­ate skill level.”

Zibin said that the staged ap­proach to im­ple­men­ta­tion won’t make the tran­si­tion any eas­ier.

“That im­plies that some­body who can play C in 2019 will be able to play ma­jors in 2022,” she said. “In three years, there’s no way you could go from a be­gin­ner­in­ter­me­di­ate level to a ma­jors level, which is pro­fes­sional or semipro­fes­sional com­pe­ti­tion level.”

ICTA mem­bers will vote on their next course of ac­tion on Au­gust 1.

L-R: Cathy Boyd and Fiona Miller, ap­pli­cans who fought for gen­der par­ity

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