The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today the composition of its commissions for 2020. The composition has once again shown a year-on-year progression towards gender equality, with 47.7 per cent of positions across the 30 commissions now held by women, coming from 45.4 per cent in 2019.
It is another all-time high and a concrete manifestation of one of the key focuses of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms – to encourage the whole Olympic Movement to advance gender equality both on and off the field. Since 2013, as a result of Olympic Agenda 2020, female participation in the IOC commissions has more than doubled (coming from 20 per cent in 2013). This year’s IOC commission week is scheduled from 2 to 8 November 2020. It will be decided at a later stage if the meetings are going to be held in person or remotely.
The 2020 IOC commissions’ composition, which is established by the IOC President working closely with the IOC Executive Board, also includes the appointment of two new female chairs. Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, IOC Member in Thailand, has been appointed Chair of the Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission; and Zhang Hong, IOC Member in China, will be the Chair of the newly-formed IOC Coordination Commission for the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024.
This brings the total number of commissions chaired by women to 11 out of 30, some 36.7 per cent.
Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul became the first Thai woman to be elected as an IOC Member at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, in 2017. She currently holds the position of Deputy President of the Badminton World Federation and is Chair of the Culture Committee at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). She has been a member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission since 2018, and brings a wealth of experience from both the sporting and cultural domains to her new role.
Zhang Hong won the first ever speed skating Olympic gold medal for China at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. In 2015, she became a Promotion Ambassador for Beijing's bid to host the Olympic Winter Games 2022. At the 132nd IOC Session in PyeongChang, Zhang was elected onto the IOC Athletes' Commission. She is also a member of the Athletes' Entourage Commission and was a member of the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026.
“Advancing women in leadership roles in sport is truly a team effort, and I want to thank all those who have contributed to this for their continued support, commitment and inspiration,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “There is always more that can be done, and we can make progress only if we work on this together.”
President Bach continued: “By increasing female participation in IOC commissions and the number of female chairs on IOC commissions, the IOC is hearing the female voice more and more and ensuring that women and girls can be empowered by using the powerful platform that sport provides to promote gender equality.”
Another highlight of the announcement is the unveiling of the composition of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024. This new Commission will support the organisation of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Asia.
The Commission comprises six members – five out of the six of whom are women. They come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, and they all bring with them wide-ranging experience from different Olympic Games editions, gained most recently during the extremely successful hosting of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.
Chair Zhang will be joined by IOC Member in Afghanistan Samira Asghari; President of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee Virginie Faivre; two representatives from Winter International Federations, Heike Groesswang and Sarah Lewis; and a National Olympic Committee (NOC) representative, José Luis Marco, from the Argentinian NOC.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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