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Sport is one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC has an important responsibility to take action when it comes to gender equality – a basic human right of profound importance and a Fundamental Principle of the Olympic Charter.

Great progress has been made in promoting gender equality in terms of balancing the total number of athletes participating at the Games, offering leadership development, advocacy and awareness campaigns, and more recently appointing more women to leadership roles within the administration and governance.

Many Olympic Movement stakeholders have also implemented significant gender equality initiatives so that girls and women around the world are being given greater access and the opportunity to participate in sport. However, there are still many challenges to be addressed.

Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the Olympic Movement, reaffirmed the commitment and priority of gender balance, and the IOC Gender Equality Review Project with its 25 recommendations launched in March 2018 is a tangible outcome of this commitment. With an emphasis on taking action, the aim of the Project is to provide a solutions-based approach to achieving gender equality on and off the field of play, sooner, rather than later.

IOC Gender Equality Review Project

In 2017, the IOC launched a comprehensive review of the current state of gender equality in the Olympic Movement, with a mandate to produce action-oriented recommendations for change. The result is the IOC Gender Equality Review Project (2018) with 25 recommendations covering areas such as participation, funding, governance and portrayal, which are focused on achieving tangible results to strengthen gender equality across the entire Olympic Movement.

Download the report here:



Portrayal guidelines

Sports coverage is very influential in shaping norms and stereotypes of women/girls and men/boys. In 2018, the IOC developed a set of Guidelines to raise awareness for gender balanced portrayal (i.e. how women and men are presented and described). They provide examples and good practice within the sporting context – notably in the areas of print, digital.

Women playing Rugby

Promotion of Women in sport through time

The IOC has been actively promoting the advancement of gender equality and women and girls’ in, and through, sport and across the Olympic Movement and beyond since the 1900s. This section offers a historical timeline of women’s participation in Olympic sport and leadership.

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One of the IOC’s priorities, through the Women in Sport Commission, is to actively advocate equality between men and women. The objective consists of raising awareness of the need to ensure equality between men and women as well as to empower women in sport.

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One of the roles of the IOC is to provide tools and funding to help the Olympic Movement achieve its gender-equality goals. This section gives an overview of the IOC support activities for gender equality.

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Safe sport

The IOC firmly believes harassment and abuse have no place in sport, nor in society, and advocates for safe sports. It has several Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport (PHAS) initiatives in place, including clear measures for the Olympic and Youth Olympics Games.

Learn more here

IOC toolkit for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport

Progress of gender equality in the Olympic Movement


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