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Women at the Olympic Games

The number of women athletes at the Olympic Games is approaching 50 per cent. Since 2012, women have participated in every Olympic sport at the Games. All new sports to be included in the Games must contain women’s events. The IOC has increased the number of women’s events on the Olympic programme, in collaboration with the IFs and the organising committees.

Women’s participation in the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games

IOC More statistics in the Women in the Olympic Movement Factsheet

Introduction of women’s sport on the Olympic programme

Since 1991, any new sports seeking to be included on the Olympic programme have been required to include women's events, while the IOC has also worked closely with the International Sports Federations (IFs) to stimulate women’s involvement in sport through more participation opportunities at the Olympic Games.


Accredited coaches at the Games Women continue to be underrepresented as coaching staff at the Olympic Games. The Gender Equality Review Project has highlighted the need to address the imbalance in coaching.


Women in leadership

The International Olympic Committee, in addition to improving its own internal balance, encourages NOCs and IFs to increase the number of women in decision-making positions. This section shows statistics of the number of women on Executive Boards and decision-making positions at the IOC, in NOCs and in IFs.

The International Olympic Committee

The IOC EB has seen an increase in female members from 21.4 per cent in 2017 to 30.8 per cent in 2018. There are currently four women on the IOC Executive Board out of fifteen Members. In 1990, the first woman ever was elected to the Board, Flor Isava Fonseca from Venezuela. In 1997, Anita DeFrantz became the first female IOC Vice-President.

Female representation on IOC commissions has also risen to 45.5 per cent, a historic high that equates to a 124% per cent increase since 2013. In 2019, women hold 36 more positions across the IOC’s 26 commissions than they did in 2017, with female members present on each commission. As of 1 January 2019, 34.3 per cent of IOC Members are women.


IOC Administration

While women outnumber men by almost 2:1 at manager level, the opposite occurs at senior manager level. The gap widens further at Director level. However, progress was made between 2016 and 2017: the proportion of women on the IOC Board of Directors increased from 19 per cent to 25 per cent, and continued to increase to reach 29 per cent in 2018. During the same period, the proportion of women in senior management roles in Lausanne increased from 36 per cent to 38 per cent, while remaining stable in Madrid.

People Management 2020:

Gender equality and diversity are two important topics that are part of the IOC’s People Management 2020 programme, which was launched in 2017. The programme aims to modernise the IOC’s human resources management function, boost employee engagement and positively influence the culture of the IOC. The recommendations of the Gender Equality Review Project will be embedded in this overall programme, the implementation of which is overseen by the IOC Human Resources Committee.

To learn more, read the IOC Sustainability Report

National Olympic Committees

In 2018, 13 women occupied the role of NOC President, while 33 were Secretary General.

In 2015, twenty-seven NOCs (of 135 who participated in the IOC survey) had 30 per cent or more women on their Executive Board. Sixty-two NOCs had less than 20 per cent women on their Executive Boards and 10 NOCs still had no women on their Executive Board.

International Federations

In 2018, four of the International Federations (summer, winter and recognised) had a female President, and 18 have female Secretary Generals.

In 2015, twenty-three of the International Federations had more than 20 per cent women on their Executive Board. Thirteen did not have any women on their Executive Boards.

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