POSTED: February 19th 2012

IOC Women and Sport: Breaking through the gender barrier

Olympian IOC Member Anita DeFrantz is chairman of the Women and Sport Commission /  Bob Long/IOC
Olympian IOC Member Anita DeFrantz is chairman of the Women and Sport Commission / Bob Long/IOC

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

The three day IOC Women and Sport conference took place this week in Los Angeles under the leadership of IOC Member and chair of the specific commission, Anita DeFrantz. This fifth edition furthered the call in the sports world to break down the gender barrier.

The theme “Together Stronger: the Future of Sport” brought together over 800 delegates from 135 countries around the world to promote the role of women in the Olympic Movement. Attendees came from well-known figures from the world of sport, as well as representatives of civil society, government and academia.

A Los Angeles declaration was unanimously approved at the end of the meeting centering on two focal points: bringing more women into management roles and to increase collaboration and partnerships especially with UN organizations in order to promote more gender equality.

IOC President, Dr. Jacques Rogge, said, “I can pledge and I can promise that we will do what is needed.”

The event was jointly organized by the IOC, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games.

A line up of prestigious speakers included Seb Coe, chairman of London 2012, Marjon V. Kamara, Chair of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, and Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Lakshmi Puri, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, said, “The potential for sport to contribute to the social, economic and political empowerment of women and girls is clear and has been recognised by governments, the United Nations system, civil society, the sports movement and others.

“Now is the time to act on this recognition and bring the benefits of sport to women and girls.”

Boxing skirts are optional

IOC member, Ching-Kuo Wu, president of the Amateur International Boxing Association, brought a significant message about the issue of mandatory boxing skirts for women. 

The choice to make them mandatory has been hotly debated as some like them, some detest them and making the skirts compulsory has become a serious question in women's boxing.

Wu explained to the press, "I want to clarify what's been said over the past six months. We never asked women to wear skirts. We heard recommendations about this from national federations and boxers, and made the option." 

He also clarified that a formal decision was imminent in the next weeks via a press release outlining guidelines for technical requirements as well as skirt lengths.  

IOC Women and Sport Awards

The winners of the six 2012 IOC Women and Sport Awards (one world and five continental) were:
- IOC World Trophy: Manisha Malhotra (India)
- IOC Trophy for Africa: Peninnah Aligawesa Kabenge (Uganda)
- IOC Trophy for the Americas: The Bradesco Sports and Education Programme and Centre (Brazil)
- IOC Trophy for Asia: Zaiton Othman (Malaysia)
- IOC Trophy for Europe: Aikaterini Nafplioti-Panagopoulos (Greece)
- IOC Trophy for Oceania:  Roseline Blake (Cook Islands)

Keywords · IOC Women and Sport · Anita DeFrantz · Jacques Rogge · AIBA · Ching-Kuo Wu

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Laura Walden ()

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