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He said: “Thanks to the addition of women’s boxing, women are competing in all sports in London 2012. This is a first in Olympic history, and I am thrilled to see the enthusiasm of the athletes and the spectators alike. The crowds and the atmosphere are just fantastic.”
London 2012 sees a female participation of approximately 44% - the highest ever at an Olympic Games. A total of 34 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have more women athletes than male ones, including smaller delegations such as the Cook Islands and Liechtenstein, but also big teams such as China, Russia and the USA. The three NOCs that had never included women athletes previously, did so for London. This means that now, every NOC has sent women to the Olympic Games.
The IOC has worked for many decades to promote women in sport, both on and off the field of play. The goal of gender equality is enshrined in the Olympic Charter, the guiding document for all Olympic organisations; and defining strategies to dismantle gender barriers is the primary goal of the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission.
Fifteen years ago, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, 26 NOCs had yet to include female athletes in their delegations.
The Olympic Games have seen female participation rise from 1.8 per cent at London 1908 to 9.5 per cent at London 1948 and more than 42 per cent at Beijing 2008. The latter figure has now been improved upon again.
In the last 20 years, the IOC has also steadily increased the number of women’s events on the Olympic programme, in cooperation with the International Federations (IFs) and the Organising Committees. As of 1991, all new sports wishing to be included on the Olympic programme must feature women’s events.
Learn more about Women and Sport on the IOC websiteRead the factsheet on Women and Sport