Thursday, 26 November 2020

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Scoring for gender equality

Women sport 1 
Syrian refugee and Jordanian girls participate in a mixed-nationality football camp in Jordan.
Photo/UN Women/Christopher Herwig

10.08.2016 – Sport has the power to transcend boundaries of sex, race, religion and nationality. It promotes health and wellness, improves self-esteem, and teaches leadership, team skills and perseverance. Women in sport defy gender stereotypes, make inspiring role models, and show men and women as equals. Seeing is one step closer to being. 

Women are more visible in sport now than ever before: Of a total of 997 athletes, only 22 women competed, for the first time, at the 1900 Games in Paris. The London 2012 Olympics was the first Games in which women competed in every sport of the Olympic programme. In Rio, approximately 4,700 women - 45% of all athletes—will represent their countries in 306 events.

Women sport 2
Photo/UN Women

As many industries have increasingly recognised, women widen perspectives, bring in new ideas and innovations, and reach new audiences. However, there is still a long way to go before we will see full equality in the world of sport. Girls and women across the world get fewer opportunities, less investment, training and safety when they play sport. When they make it as professional athletes, they meet the glass ceiling and a substantial pay gap.

The total payout for the last Women’s Soccer World Cup, for example, was $15 million, compared to $576 million for the last Men’s Soccer World Cup. Off the field, women are underrepresented in the leadership of sporting organisations, in sport clothing companies and marketers. As of July 2016, 22 women are active International Olympic Committee (IOC) members (24.4 per cent) and four women (25 per cent) are members of the Executive Board.

Women sport 3
Syrian refugees and Jordanian girls build positive relationships during a mixed-nationality football camp in Jordan.
Photo/UN Women

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in 2015 has set the roadmap to achieve gender equality by 2030. The Agenda explicitly recognises sport as an important enabler for development and women’s empowerment.

In the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, hosted in Brazil from 5 to 21 August, UN Women spotlight the remarkable achievements, persistent hurdles and unmatched potential of women and girls in sport.

Know much about women in the Olympics?

Take UN Women’s five-question quiz to learn some fun facts about women and the Olympics and share your newfound knowledge with others as you watch the Games this year!


@UN_Women , @ONUMujeres , @ONUFemmes

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