Only few women in sports policy positions


By Ida Relsted Kærup
Evaluation on women on sports and sports policy conclude that not enough women take part in the polices of sport

At the IOC Session in Copenhagen, Thursday October 8, 2009, Chair of the IOC’s Committee on Women and Sports, Anita DeFrantz briefed the IOC members about the evaluation on women in sports and sports policy. The conclusions were clear and grim: Not enough women take part in the policies of sport.

In 1996, it was decided on the IOC Session that the IOC should aim to have at least 10 % of the policy positions occupied by women by 2001 and increasing to 20 % by 2005.

Currently, however, only 14,95 % of the policy positions are occupied by women, totaling 16 female compared to 90 male members. In the Executive Board the percentage of positions occupied by women is 6,6.

At the national level, no progress has been made since 204, as the total of women in national Olympic committees are still at 180. In the International Federations' (IF) executive boards, the number of women has decreased.

Although the rules of the Olympic Charter states that all NOCs must include women, some were revealed to have no female members:

“Three NOCs have never had women on their team,” said DeFrantz. “They are in violation with our rules and with the Olympic charter.”

DeFrantz said that the Commission on Women and Sports believed that sanctions should be applied to these three nations. When asked by Play the Game to identify the three nations, DeFrantz referred to the report, which Play the Game has been unable to obtain since evaluation reports are considered confidential. Sources suggest that the nations are Cathar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei.

Sporting success but sports policy failure
The inclusion of women in decision-making has not been as successful as the number of women competing in sports. DeFrantz documented a significant increase in female sports practitioners at the Olympics, a number which in the period from 1994 to 2008 has almost doubled. Moreover, women and men will for the first time be competing in all the same sports, starting at the London 2012 Olympics. However, this does not apply to the Winter Games in Canada, as female ski jumpers are not allowed to compete. Therefore protestors in Canada are still claiming that the IOC acts in a discriminative manner at the Winter Olympics. Commenting on this issue, DeFrantz said: “We do need to take care about that.”

After the presentation, DeFrantz made a brief comment to Play the Game: “The way I see it, if 90 per cent of the members are men, it means that women have a chance to get 90 per cent increase in members in the future.”

Canadian IOC member Richard W. Pound concluded: “We are unsuccessful in our present recruitment efforts.” According to Pound, since the IOC has failed in its efforts to reach 20 per cent women, the organization needs to be more proactive and to work with elements such as career advancement improvement for female sports policy makers. 

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