Angela discusses the impact of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project and her excitement for the future.

PyeongChang 2018 and Bueno Aires 2018 saw huge progress in gender equality within sport, with athletes still very much at the heart of the process.

The recommendations will provide leadership to the Olympic Movement for years to come.

By having visible female athletes at the Games, you create role models around the world through the lens of sport, which we saw in PyeongChang and Buenos Aires.


Angela Ruggiero

The IOC Gender Equality Review Project started in 2017 as a partnership with the IOC Women in Sport Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission, and we were delighted that our 25 bold and challenging recommendations were approved by the IOC Executive Board (EB) in February 2018.

This was another step of a process that athletes have been involved in from the start, which builds upon recommendation 11 of Olympic Agenda 2020, and the decades-long leadership the IOC has demonstrated in championing the cause of gender equality.

Athletes leading the way

In a joint initiative with the Women in Sport Commission, the IOC AC formed the Gender Equality Working Group in March 2017. We invited representatives from the IOC, International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to ensure the best possible voices were at the table, and to help understand the struggles that women are facing as well as the support they are receiving across the globe.

By listening to these constituents, we wanted to see what we could learn – and what recommendations we could put forward – to better enhance girls’ and women’s participation across the entire Olympic Movement, and to create a roadmap for the work to be done over the coming years.

Chaired by IOC Member Marisol Casado, our Working Group has created best practices on a range of gender-based issues, from the portrayal of female athletes in the media, to the levels of funding and support they receive to train and become better athletes. But we are also pushing forward female leadership and trying to understand how we can better advocate women in executive and director roles across the entire Olympic Movement – including within the IOC.

Action-oriented steps towards change 

The aim of the recommendations is not simply to point out what we should be doing better, but to provide action-oriented steps so that IFs and NOCs would say: “Yes this is important”, before implementing those changes. We’re not just saying what you should do – we have created a roadmap, a timeline, resources and support to facilitate the success of this initiative.

In PyeongChang 2018, we saw evidence of the progress already made on the field of play when equal numbers of women’s and men’s events took place on the final day of the Games. Later that year, in Buenos Aires, the Youth Olympic Games saw a 50 per cent balance between male and female athletes for the first time in Olympic history.

By having visible female athletes at the Games, you create role models around the world through the lens of sport, which we saw in PyeongChang and Buenos Aires. We have since been working on that philosophy and applying it to all the different aspects relating to women in sport.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the Gender Equality Review Project proved a bold step forward in providing leadership to the global sports movement, and athletes remain at the heart of this exciting, ongoing process.

Would you like to learn about the recommendations in the IOC Gender Equality Review Report?