Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1272, (26 November - 2 December 2015)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1272, (26 November - 2 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

‘Gender equality not just a women’s issue’

In a short interview, president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach spoke to Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Bach said he was “really glad” that two women from the Middle East and the Arab region had won two of the IOC world trophies.

“One from North Africa and the other from Asia. In this region, it is of extreme importance to have such women leaders who can inspire women and girls to practice sports and to take leadership positions. That is why we are proud of these two women.”

He said he was duly impressed by the stories of success of the winners of the IOC women and sport trophies this year. “It is very impressive to see how much women can achieve and how hard can they fight for their rights. This is what the IOC wants to acknowledge in this evening and we hope all these women appreciate this award.”

The IOC president said he hopes Egypt’s new sports law would be adopted in Egypt soon. “We had had contacts with Egypt’s NOC and Egypt’s delegations here about the new sports law and all this has been discussed and I think we are on the right track. There are discussions going on and the answer of the Egyptian NOC and government was very positive and we hope it will be adopted very soon.”

Bach, a former Olympic fencer, also spoke about the most-awaited sports tournament in the world next summer, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We will see exciting and interesting Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with all the passion and enthusiasm of the Brazilian people and until then we all have to work hard for the success of the Games.”

During the awards ceremony, Bach praised the “excellent work” of the IOC women and sport commission performed over the last two decades and said gender equality went beyond being simply a “women’s issue”.

“Women have always been truly inspirational role models. Sport is a powerful platform for gender equality to empower women and girls. This is one of the reasons why in the Olympic Agenda of 2020 we are underscoring the call for stronger gender equality.” He added: “Gender equality is part of good governance in any organisation, whether an international federation, a National Olympic Committee or in the IOC itself.”

On women’s participation at next year’s Games, Bach said that it would be “close to gender equality in participation”.

“We can say almost 50-50, but we will have 46 or 47 per cent of women in these Games. The only lack we have is with regards to the participation of some team sports in some countries because in some team sports, the top level in female teams is not as broad as in male sports. We are getting close and are making sure it will be achieved at the third Youth Games in Buenos Aires in 2018.”

The IOC president also underlined the steps the IOC was taking under the 2020 Olympic Agenda, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement, with regard to gender equality. He noted the important milestones made already this year: complete gender equality for the first time at an Olympic programme at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, specifically mentioning the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of the role of sport in contributing to the empowerment of women, and IOC cooperation with UN women to support the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ initiative by using sports programmes to empower 2,500 girls aged 12 to 14 in Rio de Janeiro.

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