In an effort to improve gender equality and representation in sport, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Wednesday that it has added 30 women to various commission positions. Though the names of the new commissioners and the roles they will play throughout the IOC’s 26 commissions has not yet been released, the IOC noted that care was taken to ensure women from Africa and Oceania were also given representation.
Though women have been historically underrepresented within the IOC, the organization has made a push in recent years to increase the number of women serving on its 26 commissions. In 2017, the IOC announced that women then occupied 38 percent of commission positions–a move which itself increased the overall representation of women in IOC commissions by 70 percent since 2013. Now, with the addition of 30 new members, women occupy 42.7 percent of IOC commission positions, which increases female participation by 16.8 percent compared to 2017 and a whopping 98 percent compared to 2013.
According to the IOC press release, the work of its commissions “supports the Olympic Movement and helps progress in topics such as the development of “Sport for All”; cooperation with public and private organisations to place sport at the service of humankind; the fight against doping; the promotion of sports ethics and fair play; awareness of environmental problems; financial and educational support for developing countries; and many other areas.”
Increased gender equality is one among many recommendations put forward in the Olympic Agenda 2020, a document intended to essentially save the Olympics from ailing public opinion by making the Games more sustainable, legacy-oriented, and inclusive. An IOC study on gender equality published in March 2018 puts forward 25 more recommendations to increase gender equality in sport. The 25 recommendations are spread throughout five key “themes” including Sport, Portrayal, Governance, Funding, and HR, Monitoring, and Communications, and deal with topics such as coaching, medical, and athlete protection (all Sport), gender equality in leadership (Governance), and equal payments (Funding).
Speaking on the addition of 30 female members to its commissions, IOC President Thomas Bach said, “The IOC is continuing to increase female participation and geographical representation at every level of the Olympic Movement. We have made significant progress in the past few years and this work will continue. Universality is at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and it is this strength through diversity which unites us all.”