The London 2012 Olympics: A gender equality audit

New report has analysed the gender equality of the London Olympic Games. Photo: catfordCelt/Flickr


New report, available in Play the Game's knowledge bank, analyses gender equality at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

At the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics, IOC president Jacques Rogge said that the 2012 Games signified “a major boost for gender equality.”

The Games had a higher percentage of women athletes than ever before, there were women competing in every sport and there were women representatives for every nation.

In a new report from the University of Toronto, Peter Donnelly and Michele Donnelly have analysed gender equality in sport using the case of the 2012 London Olympics.

They argue that they see a tendency among major women’s sports organisations to shift focus from increasing women’s representation in sport to increasing women’s representation in sports leadership. 

However, the authors of the report argue that there are still major gender inequalities on the level of the athletes and the report has therefore investigated the gender-based structural and rule differences that still exist on the Olympic programme.

The gender audit compared the 26 sports and 36 disciplines that made up the 302 events at the London Olympics in order to identify the differences that exist between men and women’s Summer Olympic sports and to debate whether these differences can be considered acceptable and legitimate. 

The authors found that there is still some way to go to achieve gender equality in the Summer Olympic sports, the main concerns being the fact that there were 30 more medal events for men than for women and that the quota for women competitors were lower in 11 of the 26 sports. In all, there were 1233 more men than women competing in the 2012 London Olympics.

The report concludes with the recommendation that a similar amount of events and medal opportunities should be created for men and women in order to achieve greater gender equality, and the authors call on the IOC to realize this gender equality by the earliest opportunity. 
Read the full executive summary and download the full report here

The report is published in Play the Game's knowledge bank with kind permission from the authors

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