Looking ahead to empower women and girls through sport
International Women’s Day may be over, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s efforts to foster gender equality through sport are very much ongoing.
Today, Chair of the IOC Women and Sport Commission Lydia Nsekera will speak at the United Nations (UN) 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in New York. Convening since 9 March, and in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be agreed on this year, the Commission is reviewing the progress made since the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.
Adopted at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing+20) in 1995, this “blueprint” became a crucial milestone to advance women’s rights and to advocate sport. It recognised sport and physical education as a tool to promote women’s health, to fight discrimination and to empower women and girls.
The Olympic Movement, which reaches millions of people of all ages across the five continents, has contributed significantly to this field. In the build-up to the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as on the 20th anniversary of Beijing+20 coinciding with 20 years since the establishment of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, the IOC is eager to demonstrate the value of sport in various arenas of civil society, and support Beijing+20’s call to “Step it up” for gender equality.
The importance of partnership
Looking ahead, the IOC will join UN Women on 16 March to co-host a side event to explore how sport can benefit girls and women within this post-2015 agenda. It will be a unique opportunity to bring together Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and representatives from the world of sport to position sport as an important tool to promote and achieve gender equality.
This gathering will also allow the various parties to explore the tremendous potential for joint initiatives aimed at empowering girls and women through sport.
Striving for equal access and opportunity
Fostering gender equality and strengthening women’s participation in and through sport is one of the key missions of the IOC. Over the years, we have observed that women’s participation in the world of Olympic sport has grown steadily thanks to the IOC’s constant action, in cooperation with International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
With the adoption in December 2014 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, the IOC reaffirmed its commitment to work with IFs and NOCs as well as various regional, national and international platforms, such as the UN and UN Women, to increase the possibilities for girls and women in sport and to achieve the goal of female athletes representing 50 per cent of the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games.