Celebrating inspirational role models on International Women’s Day!
On International Women’s Day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) celebrates extraordinary men and women who have acted as inspirational role models on and off the field of play, and contributed to the advancement of women in, and through, sport.
Female power in Sochi
Last month in Sochi, more than 40 per cent of Olympians were female athletes, and a number of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), such as Australia, Japan, China and Ukraine, included more women than men in their delegations. There were also many firsts for female athletes competing at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with the inclusion of new events such as women’s ski jumping, ski halfpipe, or ski and snowboard slopestyle.
From a new generation of young girls to Olympic mums, veterans and retired athletes, women in Sochi broke records, made history and imposed themselves in their sporting disciplines, in their countries, but also in sports administration. Canadian ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser became the 24th female member of the IOC, out of 107 active members. Elected to the IOC's Athletes’ Commission for a term of approximately eight years, the sportswoman joins former Olympic fencer and IOC Executive Board member Claudia Bokel, who was re-elected as Chair of the Commission, and retired ice hockey player Angela Ruggiero, who was elected as Vice-Chair.
Since September last year, and for the first time in the Olympic Movement, four women have been members of the 15-person-strong IOC Executive Board, contributing directly to all policies on which the IOC is working.
IOC Women and Sport Awards
International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the courage and determination of people who play an extraordinary role in the history of women and girls; and it is an opportunity to laud the progress that women and girls have made., For the IOC, it is also an occasion to recognise the importance of partnership, and the exceptional sports figures, decision-makers or organisations which continue to actively promote gender equality and women’s participation in sport.
The annual IOC Women and Sport Awards – comprising five continental trophies and one world trophy - pay tribute to those who work to further the cause and inclusion of women and girls at all levels of the sporting world. Around 40 strong candidatures will be analysed by an IOC jury for the 2014 IOC Women and Sport Awards.
Since 2013, the winners of the IOC Women and Sport Awards have received a financial donation to support them in the development of their work in the field of gender equality.
“As the recipient of the 2013 IOC Women and Sport Award for the Americas, the IOC funding is allowing me to host gatherings of women leaders in sport in eight major U.S. cities over six months, which will culminate in the creation of a ‘Stay in the Games’ campaign to attract current female athletes to consider a career in sport,” stated Marlene Bjornsurd.
Ona Baboniene, who received last year’s IOC Trophy for Europe, added that this IOC initiative has helped her team “start a new women’s leadership project entitled Let’s start the change! sharing best practices and examples of female leaders in sports organisations.”
The IOC, working in close collaboration with the United Nations, International Sports Federations and NOCs, is committed to promoting and achieving gender equality. Anita De Frantz, Chairwomen of the IOC Women and Sport Commission and IOC member, will speak next week at the UN’s 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the role of sport as a powerful tool in defying gender stereotypes, promoting equal opportunities and empowering girls and women across the world.