08 Mar 2022

EOC celebrates progress towards gender equality on International Women’s Day 2022

Categories: EOC

8 March 2022

On International Women’s Day 2022, the EOC wants to celebrate the progress made towards gender equality in the Olympic Movement of Europe both on and off the field of play.

“To mark the International Women’s Day, I am glad to note the solid progress towards equality in sport that the Olympic Movement has been making every day: at present we have a record number of women in both the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic events, an increasing number of women are taking top positions in the governance of sports organisations, and an increasing number of women are seeing themselves in sports,” said EOC Vice President and Lithuanian NOC President and Olympian Daina Gudzinevičiūtė.

“We have achieved this result over many years of work, and I believe that we will see an even better result in the future.

“Today I would like to celebrate the strong, determined and ambitious women in sports and also to call for solidarity and support for the women affected by the conflict in Ukraine. I invite the entire Olympic community to think again about what we can each do to support Ukraine.”

In alignment with the Olympic Agenda 2020 + 5, the EOC is fully committed to foster gender equality through sport and is taking action in all its policy fields, from increasing female participation at the EOC Governance level to ensuring an equal representation in its events and sport competitions.

Just to mention some of achievements, for the first time in EOC history, eight women now sit on the Executive Committee, up from two during the previous 2017-2021 period. And the EOC Athletes’ Commission elected in Dubrovnik last year is perfectly gender balanced (6 out of the twelve members are women), as is the staff at EOC Head Office (5 out of the 10 employees are women).

While the upcoming Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Vuokatti 2022 will be the most gender-balanced in EYOF’s history, with the inclusion of girls’ ice-hockey competitions.

All this is mostly thanks to the hard work of the EOC Gender Equity Commission chaired by Daina Gudzinevičiūtė in the last quadrennial and now under the highly competent leadership of EOC Executive Committee member and former Olympic athlete Annamarie Phelps.

Phelps also wanted to send a message to all women working in the sports industry: “Around the world both men and women celebrated International Womens Day 2022, no more so than in the world of sport. The growth and profile of women’s sport across Europe has been exponential in recent years and will undoubtedly inspire girls and young women who watched the successes of our female athletes at Beijing and at the Tokyo Games, as well as in professional sport throughout the year. In Europe the next four years holds two Olympic Games, in Paris 2024 and then Milan Cortina 2026. I am sure these events, plus the hosting of the International Working Group on Women in Sport coming back to the UK, will further strengthen the womens sports movement as we strive to increase the numbers of female coaches, officials and leaders across the sector.

“At the EOC it is great to see that small changes to the election processes can have an immediate impact on the makeup of the Executive Committee with an unprecedented seven women elected to the EOC Executive Committee last year. The Gender Equality Commission continues to develop and implement its action plan to improve access and participation for girls and women throughout sport and work closely with the IOC, European Commission and other organisations to embed inclusion and equality at all levels across the continent.”

It goes without saying that the path is still long and much more needs to be done to achieve the goal of living in an equal and unbiased world. Therefore, the EOC will continue pursuing its mission, harnessing the power of sport and its values to empower young girls and women and let society advance more rapidly.