With the persistence of imbalances within leadership positions in sports; giving greater visibility to women in sports, continues to be of the essence to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For this reason, the IOC was most apt, when its “Women in Sport Commission” Chair, Lydia Nsekera said: “Women should feel empowered enough to take the step into sports leadership, and I would urge all of them to consider this once their sporting careers are over.”
Nsekera’s statement preceded the 17th edition of the IOC ‘Women in Sport’ Awards held on Monday November, 7 at the Swiss Tech Convention Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland. The awards, birthed sixteen (16) years ago, seeks to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels, based on the principle of gender- equality; one of the key missions of the IOC anchored in the Olympic Charter. The award mainly recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions of those who work hard to foster gender- equality in sport.
It also helps to encourage the participation of women and girls in sports, as: athletes, coaches, administrators, leaders and members of the media. Indeed, the awards have seen women and girls involved in sport, excel at all levels: local, national and global to be specific.
Lately, the IOC board boasts a strong women representation, within its senior management and on the Olympic teams- which is a reflection of the IOC Jury’s long-standing commitment to the cause of women in sport. The unprecedented number of women at the Rio Olympics (45pc of total number of athletes) is indicative of the importance the IOC attaches to women’s participation in sport.
According to IOC President, Thomas Bach: “An increased representation is vital to the success of the Olympic Movement, and the IOC will continue to put more resources into training and other programmes to help further prepare women to take up leadership positions in the future.” “Parity at the Olympic Games is not enough, we also need more women in leadership positions.” Bach added.
The Olympic Movement through its ‘Women in sport Commission’ has since 1995 promoted gender- equality and the strengthening of women’s participation in sport. This has led to more women taking part in Olympic sports, resulting in greater awareness of gender -equality in sport around the world. “In some ways, women athletes have helped society to make the argument for equality.” Lydia Nsekera , also a former President of the Burundian Football Federation stated.
The IOC organizes seminars and workshops globally, aiming to give greater visibility women and sport issues. The seminars further helps to encourage the various federations and associations across the globe to highlight women and sports issues. In the near future, the Olympic movement says it will launch a gender-equality electronic (e)-platform to help organizations achieve parity for men and women in sport.