The IOC has steadily worked towards achieving 50/50 representation of sportswomen and men for the Olympic Games. Following the analysis of statistics from Tokyo 2021 compared to Rio 2016, the Women's Sport Foundation (WSF) deemed this to be "an important shift in Olympic history".
What does this mean for gender equality in Paris 2024?
Where possible, the IOC has endeavored to make an even split between female and male athletes. However, some sports still tend to have greater female representation; others have greater male representation.
There is a definite 50/50 representation shared between the genders in most sports. For the first time in history, this will include athletics, boxing and cycling.
The only sports without gender balance are wrestling (192 men, 96 women), soccer (288 men, 216 women), gymnastics (206 women, 112 men), and aquatics (722 women, 648 men). The IOC, however, have ensured there is still equal gender participation.
There will also be an increase to 20 mixed-gender events on the program in Paris, up from 18 in Tokyo. Though most of the athletes competing in these are also participating in other events, mixed-gender events have been publicized as a way to add new opportunities open to women.
New facts and figures for Paris 2024
Events down from 339 in Tokyo to 329 in Paris
- Men’s and women’s extreme canoe slalom
- Men’s Kayak-2 500m and Canoe-2 500m
- Men’s and women’s kiteboarding
- Skeet mixed team event
Second time appearances
- Sport climbing
Athlete quota reductions
- Weightlifting: five events per gender (minus two men’s and two women’s events)
- Boxing: seven men’s and six women’s competitions (minus one men’s and plus one women’s event)
Women’s participation in the Olympics and areas still needing attention
22 women (2.2% of 997 athletes) first competed at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games in women's tennis and golf and in mixed-gender events, sailing, croquet and equestrianism.
Women's participation has been steadily increasing from these pioneering Olympians at all Olympic events. However, there is still progress to be made in gender equality and gender parity in areas such as sponsorship, pay inequality, media coverage and language used when commentating on women's events.
In your sport, have you seen progress in gender equality or are there areas that have room for improvement? Leave a comment! Sharing your experiences encourages others to learn from you or even take the lead to making those important changes.
Source: Olympics.com, Olympics.ca, WSF