As the world prepares for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Worldwide TOP Partner P&G’s Always brand is encouraging girls everywhere to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.Always has partnered with Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein to find out how girls feel about playing sport. The new #LikeAGirl video, asked girls about their sporting experiences, the challenges and the benefits, what helped them continue participating in sport, or what led them to give up.
The IOC encourages and supports the promotion of women in sport at all levels. In terms of female participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC ensures that all sports seeking inclusion in the programme must include women's events. The Olympic Games London 2012 set a new record for women’s participation in the Olympic Games: of the 10,568 athletes competing, 4,676 were women, which is more than 44 per cent. With the inclusion of women’s boxing, the Olympic Games in London saw women competing for the first time in all the sports on the Olympic programme.
In 2015, the IOC implemented a gender-balanced sports programme for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. For the first time, there will be absolutely equal numbers of girls and boys competing at the Games, as well as increase in the number of women’s events and mixed-gender events.
Always is inviting everybody to help keep girls in sport by pledging that you’ll Keep Playing #LikeAGirl and encourage others to do the same. Upload a picture, shoot a video or tweet using #LikeAGirl to show your support and inspire young girls everywhere to keep playing!As well as increased female participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC has taken major steps to promote the importance of women in sport. In 2014, President Bach and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed an historic agreement to strengthen collaboration between the two organisations at the highest level. The agreement laid out a number of key objectives, including girls’ and women’s empowerment.
The importance of fostering gender equality was also underlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, which included the recommendation that the IOC works with the International Federations to achieve 50 per cent female participation in the Olympic Games and to stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities at the Olympic Games. In addition, the IOC will encourage the inclusion of mixed-gender team events at the Olympic Games.
While recognising the progress made, gender parity at the Olympic Games is not enough. The IOC is also investing in bringing more women into sports leadership.
For example, the IOC Coordination Commission Chairs for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, as well the Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 and Buenos Aires 2018, are all women, as well the current Chair and Vice-Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
As of last year, the IOC had trained hundreds of women on five continents in leadership skills and in the ability to identify and dismantle areas of discrimination. We are creating a mentorship programme with iconic sports figures and female sports administrators; involving young female athletes in youth sessions at IOC conferences; and ensuring that both men and women are targeted in new system-wide outreach programmes.
The IOC is also working closely with UN Women to advance gender equality. One example is the UN Women project in Rio de Janeiro State, a project financially supported by the IOC. Entitled “One Win Leads to Another”, the project will target 2,500 girls aged 12 to 14 and will use a series of sports programmes to build young women’s leadership skills and improve their ability to influence decisions that impact their lives at all levels by spreading messages of non-discrimination, non-violence, girls’ empowerment and positive masculine traits among boys. This pilot project will be implemented initially in 50 schools across the state of Rio de Janeiro, and will serve as a model that can be rolled out nationally and internationally.