European Female International Judges II – Challenges


“European Female International Judges” is World Archery Europe´s motto to celebrate the International Women´s Day on March 8th, 2024. WAE is pleased to introduce the two International Judges Maya SHALABY (SLO) and Aslıhan UNSAL (TUR). While Aslıhan already was a member of the Judges Commission at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and will judge at the 2024 Paris Olympics, Maya will have her first appointment at the 2024 Paris Paralympics.


International Judges (IJ) Maya SHALABY (SLO) and Aslıhan UNSAL (TUR) are currently the only ones representing their countries at the highest international judge level.
In the Slovenian federation, the majority of judges and also new candidates are male. Women make up less than 25% of all judges. However, among judges with continental/international status, 80% are female judges. All Slovenian WAE Judges have already taken the next step on the ladder of success. In addition to Maya as IJ, Marusa GAJIC is an International Judge Candidate and Petra BOLTA, Metka VODUSEK and Cezar KLEMENT are International Youth Judges.
In Turkey, women currently make up 56% of active national judges. Aslihan is the only one at the international level of eight WAE Judges (25% female) – besides her, there are Ipek ASLIM ZIREK, Muharrem CAKNAK, Tahsin Cinar GÖZACAN, Alper GULER, Serdar ÖZDEMIR, Naci ÜGUR and Soner YÜCEER.


Aslıhan and Maya both have followed in the footsteps of great female role models in their home country – Macide ERDENER (TUR) and Irena ROSA (SLO). When asked about her motivation to become a judge, Maya has a clear answer.

“The person who convinced me was Irena Rosa, my long-time friend, my first archery teacher, and my mentor.” (Maya)


“Judging keeps me deeply connected to the sport I love. Meeting passionate archers, judges, and coaches at tournaments, the invaluable friendships and shared experiences and the growth of this sport are the main reasons that motivate me.” (Maya SHALABY)
“Judging keeps me deeply connected to the sport I love. Meeting passionate archers, judges, and coaches at tournaments, the invaluable friendships and shared experiences and the growth of this sport are the main reasons that motivate me.” (Maya SHALABY)


Aslıhan had to stop professional shooting due to her academic workload, but wanted somehow stay in the archery community.

“Being a judge was a perfect solution for me! This way, I am able to stay in the community without having any problems with my work.” (Aslıhan)


“I started shooting as a recurve archer in the late 1990’s. Later, I decided to be a Judge and I have been judging in various events at national and international level since 2013. I sincerely appreciate being a member of the Archery community, which prioritizes gender equality.” (Aslıhan UNSAL)


As female judges, they do not have the feeling that there is a distinction between female and male judges. However, like their male colleagues, especially as a chairperson, one needs a “thick skin” to tolerate rudeness in some situations. Both note that they have generally not had any problems due to their gender. However, cultural differences still exist, “sometimes female judges are subjected to additional kindness” and “in some countries, where people do not take what women say seriously culturally, communication might be a problem.”

“It is never too late to become a judge, also after a career as an archer” (Maya)

Maya shares her ideas on how to attract more women to judging and suggests conducting workshops at a national level, “we could attract them presenting the contribution to the sport, explain that with judging they could meet inspiring people, developing new skills, and building confidence.” Aslıhan adds, “European judges can promote how is it like to be a female archery judge in their countries or on social media more. Podcasts, live YouTube channel/Instagram/twitter talks can be organized and shared online to increase the visibility of female judges.”


Being an IJ means having the opportunity to judge archery tournaments around the world.

“Judging has opened my eyes to the diverse customs and traditions archers and other judges bring from their corners of the world. Every interaction becomes a mini-cultural immersion.” (Maya)

As WAE Gender Equity Liaison and WA Gender Equity ad hoc Committee member, I would like to thank Maya and Aslıhan for taking the time to answer my questions. Like them, I am the only IJ in my country. In addition, in Austria there is Benjamin AJETI as IJ Candidate and Manfred PIESINGER, Helmut POELL and Andreas STRAIF as WAE Judges.
In contrast to Maya and Aslıhan, there is no active and/or former female Austrian IJ who acted as my mentor. In Helmut POELL I had a great national male mentor at the beginning and a lot of support also from other national and international judges and I am grateful for that. But I also had to deal with the envy of a few male judges in my home country, especially because of my judging career up to and including IJ status. In general, I feel accepted by the judges I work with and the athletes. Overall, in my experience, the more international the tournament is, the smaller the differences between female and male judges are.
Finally, I am honored to be judging at the Paralympics in Paris and also at the 3D World Archery Championships in Mokrice (SLO) in 2024.


Bettina KRATZMUELLER, European Field Championships Poreč/CRO, 2021

WAE Gender Equity Liaison
Vienna, March 8th, 2024

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