International Women’s Day: Sport empowering women and girls

With International Women’s Day (8 March) just around the corner, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) salutes all those that contribute to the development of girls’ and women’s sport. On this occasion, The Olympic Museum is hosting its very own special weekend celebrations honouring female athletes who are making a name for themselves in what are traditionally considered to be male-dominated sports. 

Despite the progress made in the long road to full equality in sport, there are still many barriers and prejudices to overcome. Reacting to clichés of certain sports being “a man’s game”, or “not for girls”, The Olympic Museum is shining a spotlight on women who are challenging directly such preconceptions by practising such sports.

Inspiring female athletes
On 7 and 8 March, The Olympic Museum is bringing together a boxer, a wrestler, a mountaineer and an extreme sports athlete to share their experiences, passions and reasons for pursuing their respective disciplines. The two-day event will feature sports demonstrations, round-table discussions and film projections of, and with, inspirational female athletes. 

Click here for more information on this weekend’s programme at The Olympic Museum.

On International Women’s Day, United World Wrestling (UWW) will also conclude its eight-week “Super 8” campaign. Over the course of the last two months, this programme has brought together eight female wrestlers, including Olympic champions Saori Yoshida (JPN), Natalia Vorobieva (RUS) and Carol Hunyh (CAN), for a series of activities and sports demonstrations, in a bid to raise awareness of women’s wrestling and increase female participation at all levels of the sport.

Watch here an interview with Canada’s first Olympic women’s wrestling champion, Carol Hunyh: 

In support of UWW’s Super 8 campaign, The Olympic Museum is looking back at how wrestling, a sport which dates back to the Ancient Games, has opened up to women. Featuring portraits of eight ambassadors, archive images and interactive displays, the exhibition will run until 28 June 2015.

For more details on this exhibition, click here.

Looking ahead to empower women and girls
Fostering gender equality and strengthening women’s participation in, and through, sport is one of the IOC’s key missions. This was emphasised in the adoption last December of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. The IOC continues to work with International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to achieve the goal of women representing 50 per cent of the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games, as well as promoting the participation and presence of women in sport generally.

The IOC is eager to look ahead; eager to demonstrate the value of sport in various arenas of civil society. Next week, it will join UN Women at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in New York, to co-host a side event that will explore how girls and women can be empowered through sport. This will be a unique opportunity to bring together Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and representatives from the world of sport to position sport as an important tool to promote and achieve gender equality.

Under the theme of empowering girls and to mark International Women’s Day, Worldwide TOP Partner Procter & Gamble has also released a new video featuring American Olympic ice hockey player Hilary Knight, which celebrates inspirational young women around the world redefining what doing sports ‘like a girl’ means.

Watch the video here:

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