Do the Olympics still discriminate based on gender?

The first modern day Olympics had no female athletes.

Roughly half of the athletes competing in The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were women.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) considered this milestone as a turning point in gender equality.

Of 11,090 athletes, approximately 49% were female athletes.

The fact that the participation of women in the Rio Games was 45% and that of Los Angeles was 23% shows that the participation of female athletes is steadily increasing.

Athletes however are still plagued by gender discrimination.

Gender Equality in the Olympics

Reference : “IOC Statement on gender equality in the Olympic Movement

The IOC sees inclusion, diversity and gender equality as indispensable factors (in the Olympics).

The IOC has committed to further increase gender equality.

Decisions and results of various IOC activities:

  • The participation rate of female athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was approximately 49%, marking the first (almost) gender equal games.
  • The National Olympic Committee (NOC) firmly requested that at least one male and one female athlete from each of the 206 NOCs participate .
  • Also was evident at the opening ceremony where the IOC encouraged each NOC to have one male and one female athlete carry the flag.
  • The IOC Refugee Olympic Team selected Tegla Loroupe as Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020.
  • Anita DeFrantz, an African-American bronze medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was elected as the first vice president of the IOC for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
  • The IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was directly elected by the athletes themselves.
  • The IOC works in tandem with UN-Women on the promotion of gender equality.
  • The IOC President was appointed as the “HeforShe” Impact Champion in recognition of the IOC’s contribution and commitment to gender equality.
  • Women account for 37.5% of the IOC membership, an increase of 10.9% since the start of Olympic Agenda 2020.
  • Currently female representation on the IOC Executive Board stands at 33.3%, an increase of 10.9% as compared to 2020.
  • Compared to 2020, (one year before Tokyo 2020 actually took place), the number of IOC committee members increased by 27.5%.
  • Female employees in the IOC administration account for 53% of the workforce.

Over the past 25 years, the IOC has played an important role in promoting women in and through sport, and it will continue to do so by setting ambitious targets. In the challenging context we live in, now more than ever, diversity is a fundamental value that we need to respect and draw strength from.

IOC Statement on gender equality in the Olympic Movement – International Olympic Committee

The IOC has vowed to continue to tackle inclusiveness in solidarity with regards to the fight for gender equality without prejudice.

Olympic Charter

In the Olympic Charter, the role of the IOC is to endorse the following so called “Olympism”.

Olympism is a universal social philosophy proposed by Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics.

Olympism is about the development of the world through the deepening of international understanding and peaceful coexistence.

Coubertin also spoke of gender and the following is a description of gender and discrimination.

Discrimination against race, religion, politics, gender, country, or individual in any form is incongruent (with Olympism).

Therefore, it is abundantly clear from the Olympic Charter that gender discrimination has no place in the Olympics.

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