Women competed for the first time at the 1900 Games in Paris. Of a total of 997 athletes, 22 women competed in five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf.
The IOC is committed to gender equality in sport. The Olympic Charter, Chapitre 1, Rule 2.8, states that the IOC's role is: “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women.”
With the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympic programme, the 2012 Games in London were the first in which women competed in all the sports on the programme. Since 1991, any new sport seeking to join the Olympic programme must have women’s competitions.
At the 2016 Games in Rio, 45 per cent of the participants were women.