In 2019, Ultimate Canada will be moving to the WFDF mixed gender Ratio Rule A for the CUC series. This change is primarily being made for gender equity reasons.
What is Rule A?
Rule A is found in Section A7.2 of the WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2017, Appendix v. 1.0:
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 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).
For example: Team A wins the flip and starts on defense with 4 women, 3 men. After the conclusion of the first point, the next two points are played with 3 women, 4 men, and then the next two points flip back to 4 women, 3 men. This pattern continues until the game’s end. This results in an even distribution of gender ratios within a mixed game.
The primary reason to move to Ratio Rule A is gender equity. It produces near equal play time for female and male identifying athletes and encourages the gender ratio of mixed squads to include equal numbers of athletes who identify with each gender. Under the current rule, WFDF Ratio Rule B (end zone decides), the gender ratio decision alternates between teams. The uncertainty of the gender ratio for tournaments can make it more difficult to determine the number of players of various genders to carry on a roster and does not encourage full gender equality on rosters. Ratio Rule A also has the effect of speeding up the game, as the gender ratio is known for each point after the first.
Ratio Rule A is currently used at the highest pinnacle of competition for Ultimate, The World Games, with positive results and feedback. The Australian Flying Disc Federation (AFDF) has also moved to Ratio Rule A for its events in 2018. It is expected that WFDF will move to this more gender equitable rule in the future. However, Ultimate Canada wishes to be a leader in gender equity and want to be proactive in making the change.
In recent years, Ultimate Canada has changed the gender ratio of our events to move towards greater gender equality. In 2017, the C4UC gender ratio moved to 2:2 and the CUC gender ratio moved from offense decides, to WFDF’s gender Ratio Rule B. After one season of playing under Ratio Rule B, 67% of players in the CUC mixed divisions preferred it to other gender ratio options. While many players are unfamiliar with Rule A, we anticipate that players will grow to appreciate the change.
The shift to Ratio Rule A is expected to increase the long-term participation of women in the mixed divisions. Ultimate Canada is providing a full year’s advanced notification of this change to assist with team planning, recruitment and adjustment.
*Please note that any references to men/male players includes anyone who identifies as male matching for gender ratio purposes, and references to women/female players includes anyone who identifies as female matching for gender ratio purposes, as per the Ultimate Canada Inclusion Policy.