IOC mobilises Olympic Movement with strong commitments at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris

As the three-day Generation Equality Forum came to a close last week in Paris, France, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its commitments towards strengthening and accelerating gender equality at the Olympic Games and across the Olympic Movement by 2024.

 Andy Murray of Great Britain (R) and Heather Watson of Great Britain celebrate victory Getty Images 2016

IOC Member and Athletes’ Commission Chair Kirsty Coventry attended an exclusive panel entitled “The Paris Call on Sports for Generation Equality” to announce how the IOC – as an organisation, as the owner of the Olympic Games and the leader of the Olympic Movement – has responded to this call-for-action with a measurable set of commitments to accelerate tangible results and pave the way for a more equal and inclusive society.

IOC gender equality commitments by 2024:

  • Consolidate the Olympic Games as one of the most effective global platforms for promoting and accelerating gender equality, in particular with regard to athletes participating, as well as the event schedule, including competition hours and medal events per day. Tokyo 2020 will see gender-balanced athlete participation, with gender parity (exactly 50 per cent male and female participation) to be achieved at Paris 2024.
  • Ensure gender-equal and fair portrayal in all Olympic-related communications to foster positive attitudes and to challenge harmful social norms, gender stereotypes and practices.
  • Accelerate female representation in governance and leadership positions across the Olympic Movement, with the goal of reaching at least 30 per cent women’s representation in decision-making bodies in sports organisations.

Read the IOC commitments in full here

“We can all agree that the current crisis presents many challenges to sport and gender equality at large,” said the two-time Olympic swimming champion and sports leader, Kirsty Coventry. “That is why, now more than ever, we must ensure that resource allocation continues to be put towards girls and women’s sport and that we guarantee equal access and opportunities for girls and boys to play sport in a safe and inclusive environment.” She added: “We are committed more than ever to accelerating progress within the Olympic Movement by continuing to lead by example and establishing concrete targets.”

Invited by the IOC, UN Women and the Government of France, key players from across the sports ecosystem – including organisers of the Olympic Games, sports federations, governments, sponsors, media, international development agencies, sport for development and peace institutions and more – came together for the panel on the second day of the Forum to share their bold commitments to Sports for Generation Equality.

Among those was the President of the Organising Committee of the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, HASHIMOTO Seiko. Proud to be the backdrop to many firsts, Hashimoto announced Tokyo 2020’s commitment to ensuring gender-equal and fair portrayal of athletes, as well as the launch of a diversity and inclusion platform as a legacy of the Games, inviting local and international actors to take action for diverse and equal sport. In turn, Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, announced how it will work with the Government of France in a bid to become the first major sports event to receive its newly created diversity and equality certification.

Olympic Partner Procter & Gamble was also among the leaders to present its efforts to accelerate gender equality in and through sport. “We believe strongly in the accurate portrayal of female athletes because we know that advertising embeds memories, shifts norms and can change bias,” said Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard in a video message. “Our Always brand will rally society to ‘KeepHerPlaying’, by showcasing the unexpected ways sports can transform a girl’s future. The brand has teamed up with girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai and other trailblazing women who all credit playing sports during puberty as a key enabler of their future success.”

Other speakers during the event included UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy Minister of Sport of the Government of France Roxana Mărăcineanu, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, and more.

Leading the change for a more inclusive and sustainable Olympic Movement

For the past three decades, the IOC has played an important role in advancing gender equality within the sporting arena and beyond. It has been advocating the meaningful representation and participation of women at all levels, encouraging its stakeholders – National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) – to enhance the presence of women in sport.

The IOC’s key achievements in this respect include:

  • With female athlete participation of almost 49 per cent, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-balanced Olympic Games.

  • The IOC is requesting all 206 NOCs for the first time ever to have at least one female and one male athlete in their respective Olympic teams.

  • The IOC has for the first time ever allowed and encouraged all 206 NOCs to have their flag carried by one female and one male athlete at the Opening Ceremony.

  • Today, female IOC membership stands at 37.5 per cent, up from 21 per cent at the start of Olympic Agenda 2020.

  • Female representation on the IOC Executive Board stands at 33.3 per cent, versus 26.6 per cent pre-Olympic Agenda 2020.

The IOC also took a leadership role in the UN Women Sports for Generation Equality Initiative launched in March 2020. A powerful multi-stakeholder coalition, it is an invitation to bring in new partners and generations to embrace and revitalise the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and to make gender equality a lived reality.

Generation Equality Forum: Advancing action and investment for gender equality

Initiated by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of France and Mexico, in partnership with civil society and youth, the Generation Equality Forum kicked off last March in Mexico and culminated in Paris, in a hybrid format, from 30 June to 2 July 2021. Commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Beijing Conference, the three-day event was the largest global gathering of gender champions since 1995. With over 110 events, it brought together governments, international organisations, civil society, youth, the private sector and activists to take concrete, ambitious and transformative action to accelerate gender equality in the world and make the COVID-19 recovery more gender-responsive. A Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality was launched on this occasion.

More information about the UN Generation Equality Forum can be found here.

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