Women’s International Day webinar for International Female Referees

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, March 8, 2023.- In commemoration of Women’s International Day the NORCECA Referee Commission held a webinar on Tuesday for international female referees with the theme of “Sharing Our Stories” to provide helpful information to support their growth and development.

Julie Voeck of the United States, member of the NORCECA Referee Commission, was in charge of moderating an open conversation in which NORCECA female referees had the opportunity to speak about their personal experiences refereeing at an international level.

Guy Bradbury, president of the NORCECA Referee Commission highlighted that the Referee Commission has been working for the equality within our sport and having a better understanding of female referees.

Ariel Sainz, NORCECA First Vice President also took part of the session, alongside other members of the NORCECA Referee Commission.

Beach Volleyball referees Claudia Guerrerro of Honduras and Suzanne Lowry of the United States, and Volleyball referees Cinthya Hernández of Costa Rica and Mary Carmen Durán of Mexico shared their stories of how they decided to become referees and the different challenges they have faced along their path.

One of the discussions during the webinar was how some of them shifted from being an athlete to refereeing, the opportunity they have been provided of meeting fellow referees which have contributed to their career and a better understanding of the rules of the game.  

An important conversation came to the attention of the participants, was that in many events they are the only female referee officiating during an event, which has been challenging as on occasions they haven’t felt the same camaraderie when having the companion of another female referee.

The speakers agreed the importance of whistling as many national events as possible, providing them with a better preparation to approach difficult situations, dealing with coaches and players who are constantly questioning their decisions, which in the end helps them to improve with every match and for officiating at an international level.

Some of the challenging situations they have faced are balancing their personal careers and overcoming doubting themselves, but NORCECA has provided the necessary support.

The webinar concluded with the message to continue working hard and setting career goals, to become trustworthy referees and also taking on a teaching role for developing more female referees.