AthletesCAN (CANADA) Canadian Olympian Nikki Dryden – Featured Article: “Hey International Olympic Committee – Your words are not enough”
The following article was written by Nikki Dryden, retired national team athlete and two-time Olympian.
“Sport, unlike anything else, brings the world together, has the power to change lives for the better, and is truly universal. “It has an almost unmatched role to play in promoting understanding, healing wounds, mobilizing support for social causes, and breaking down barriers”, says former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who believes that sport has the power to breakdown “myths and prejudices.” He also notes that athletes as well as sports organizations are critical in “unifying societies torn apart by conflict, tackling prejudices…and in breaking down gender inequality.”
Yet here we are in 2011 and women are not equal in the world of Olympic sport…not even close, and all 110 members of the International Olympic Committee (only 17% of whom are women) must be held accountable. Action, not words, must be demanded by athletes and coaches of the world, fans of Olympic sport, and corporate sponsors who lend their name to the Olympic movement. Without true gender equity in sport, the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement makes a mockery of women and their contributions to the world of sport.
On Friday, once again, Ms. Anita DeFrantz head of the Women’s Commission at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) named the three countries that have yet to send women athletes to the Olympic Games: Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar. But we have heard this before. She said it in 2010 too – but at the 2010 Olympic Games 19 countries sent men-only Olympic teams to Vancouver.
The list of inequities does not end there. In addition to the many nation-states who do not send women athletes, there still exists unequal sports and events for women athletes at the Olympic Games, there are an unequal numbers of women participants, an unenforceable sex harassment and abuse policy, and discrimination in gender testing. Add into the mix a disturbing lack of women on executive sporting bodies and in the coaching ranks, and what you have is an IOC and Olympic Movement that does not care about women in reality, but pretends to do so in theory.”
Also can be found on the Women in Sport International Blog “Click Here”
Published July 2011