Is a Gender-Equal Olympics Possible?

Despite the steady increase in women’s Olympics participation over the past few decades, some believe the time has come to push for true gender equality in terms of medal opportunities.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

With all 204 participating countries sending both male and female athletes to the Olympics for the first time ever, shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell thinks the 2016 Games should go even further by making equal numbers of medals available to both genders. The addition of women’s boxing and cycling events, to name two examples, only partially makes up for the fact that there are more medals available to men than women and that some sports still have demonstrably unequal gender representation. This helps contribute to the ongoing dearth of attention to women’s sport from corporate sponsors and the media.

What’s the Big Idea?

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) says that while it’s committed to remedying gender imbalances, it cannot promise that those remedies will be in place by 2016’s opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.  Much of the burden is being left to individual sporting federations such as the International Amateur Boxing Association, which intends to increase the number of weight class competition categories available to female boxers. However, a lack of flexibility on the part of the IOC is as much to blame since it currently maintains a cap on the total number of events allowed at an Olympics.

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