News

Sports named and shamed for shunning women on boards

9 July 2011

Nine sports including soccer, cycling and rugby have been named and shamed for not including women on their executive boards.

Ms Anita DeFrantz told the 123rd session of the International Olympic Committee in Durban, South Africa, there are an increased number of women competing on the field of play but fewer women winning seats in the boardroom.

 Ms DeFrantz, an IOC member from the USA, said eight Olympic summer sports and one Olympic winter sport have no women on their executive boards.

The international federations are soccer, rugby, cycling, boxing, canoe, weightlifting, shooting and archery. The winter federation is bobsleigh.

She said when it comes to women being involved in the decision making process “in some cases we (sports) are moving backwards”.

Ms DeFrantz has the full support of the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, who said “I do believe in the name and shame strategy that you are having”.

Ms DeFrantz said 43% of the athletes competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics were women and women will be able to compete in all sports at the London Games next year.

But she expressed her disappointment at three National Olympic Committees (NOCs) who have never chosen a woman to compete at the Olympics. They are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei.

Ms DeFrantz also criticised NOC’s for having an average of only 17% of women on its executive boards.

The President of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, has given high priority to gender equality.

He says “where necessary the Olympic movement should implement changes to achieve gender equality”.

Australia achieved gender equality at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with 20 male athletes and 20 female athletes on the Team.

But the AOC executive only includes two females or 13%. He agrees 13% “is long way short of ideal” and has called on his member sports to put more women forward for election to the executive board at the next vote in 2013.

Mike Tancred
AOC - Durban