IOC launches bold initiative on gender equality

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today approved a major review project regarding gender equality in the Olympic Movement.
With the help of its partners, the Summer and Winter International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the IOC is undertaking a comprehensive review of the current state of gender equality in the Olympic Games with a mandate to produce action-oriented recommendations for change.

“The IOC is taking a leadership role in the world of sport to push gender equality globally and effect real change,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “The outcomes from this Gender Equality Review Project will benefit the IOC, all International Sports Federations and National Olympic Committees, as well as all the athletes of the Olympic Games. It will also be a further tangible outcome of Olympic Agenda 2020.”

The IOC Gender Equality Review Project is a joint initiative of the IOC’s Women in Sport and Athletes’ Commissions, and aims to raise continued awareness of the importance of gender equality within the Olympic Movement, share best practices and present initiatives to further advance gender equality both on and off the field of play.

Five essential themes will be assessed: Sport; Portrayal; Funding; Governance; and Human Resources. The work will be conducted by a Working Group chaired by IOC Member and President of the International Triathlon Union Marisol Casado, and comprising IOC Members and NOC and Summer and Winter IF representatives.

Lydia Nsekera, Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission, commended the partnership developed between her Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission. She said: “We welcome this cooperation and the creation of this Working Group, which will give a great boost to the work of the Women in Sport Commission. Our Commission is looking forward to the recommendations of the Working Group, which will further assist us to remove the barriers that continue to prevent women and girls in sport in general and elite sport in particular.”

For Angela Ruggiero, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, gender equality is a clear priority for the athletes: “The IOC Athletes’ Commission wants gender equality to be part of the organisational culture within the entire Olympic Movement. To achieve that, we have directed the Working Group to develop action-oriented recommendations, substantiated by data and the best practices of our Olympic partners. We believe the outcome of this project will fundamentally advance the position of women in sport, and ultimately, lead to a stronger Olympic Movement.”

Marisol Casado, the Working Group Chair for the Project, believes “by having the IOC, the IFs and the NOCs working together on this project, we will share best practices as well as address the obstacles facing gender equality in sport to produce solutions. I am confident our recommendations will make significant advancements”.

Barbara Slater, Director of Sport for the BBC, adds: "As a broadcaster with a proud record in the coverage of women's sport, we welcome the IOC's review into gender equality, and support the recommendation of the IOC’s Women in Sport and Athletes' Commissions for an in-depth review of gender equality within the Olympic Movement. The IOC is uniquely placed in its ability to bring together sports organisations from across the globe to address this crucial issue."

The Gender Equality Project Working Group will develop recommendations and guidelines, and report its findings to the IOC’s Women in Sport and Athletes’ Commissions, with the final recommendations presented to the IOC Executive Board later this year.

Fostering gender equality and strengthening women’s participation in and through sport is one of the key missions of the IOC. With the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020 in December 2014 and as reaffirmed by the IOC Executive Board last December, the IOC is committed to working with its stakeholders to increase the possibilities for girls and women in sport and to achieve the goal of female athletes representing 50 per cent of the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games.


The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.25 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.


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