By Belinda Goldsmith
July 5th, 2012
Women boxers have claimed an early victory at the 2012 Olympics by knocking out the last all-male sport but the battle for sex equality at the Games rages on, and not just among women — male synchronized swimmers are also demanding equal rights.
London marks the first Olympics where women will compete in all 26 sports on offer, a major change from Stockholm 100 years ago when women could only participate in five of 110 events.
Campaigners for gender equality acknowledge there has been progress but stress the battle is far from over and the Games must symbolise, reflect and celebrate the dominant beliefs and values of society.
At the London Olympics, running from July 27 until Aug. 12, women are competing in 30 fewer events than men.
A total of 162 gold medals are up for grabs for male competitors while women can win only 132. At the 2008 Beijing Games there were 165 gold medals for men and 127 for women.
Annie Sugier, spokeswoman for the French coordination for the European Women’s Lobby, said several women’s groups were planning to hold a demonstration in London on July 25 to put seven demands to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding discrimination and segregation.
“The objective of the Olympics is to build a better world through sport but the reality is that we still have all the stereotypes, discrimination, and prostitution around the Games,” Sugier told Reuters.
“The Olympics is the right place to enforce change as there is just one law for all. You have the instruments to enforce equality and equality is justice.”
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Published July 2012