42% female participation in Beijing
Out of the total 11,196 athletes, 4,746 were women, representing a record 42 per cent participation for women.
Women’s participation in the Olympic Games has grown increasingly, particularly within the last two decades.
Beijing puts the spotlight on women
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games kicked off with 63 female flag-bearers leading their delegations into the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on 8 August 2008.
On 9 August 2008, Katarina Emmons from the Czech Republic became the first woman to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, with her victory in the women's 10m air rifle shooting competition.
Rome to Beijing: the long and winding road to parity
From the meagre 611 female participants in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, representing just 11.5 per cent of the athletes, women’s participation leapt to close to 22 per cent by the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.
At the Sydney Games in 2000, the number of female athletes reached more than 38 per cent, with 4,069 women participants out of a total of 10,651 athletes.
Athens, four years later, saw 4,306 female athletes competing out of a total of 10,568. What’s more, in Athens, women competed in 135 events and in 26 of the 28 Olympic sports. At the Beijing Games, women competed in the same number of sports and in a slightly increased 137 events.