IOC edges closer to gender parity on its commissions
The International Olympic Committee has once again championed its promotion of women within its ranks, with 47.7 per cent of positions across the 30 commissions now held by women.
The new figures, released yesterday, compares with 45.4 per cent in 2019, and as low as 20 per cent in 2013 when the IOC brought in its Olympic Agenda 2020 reform programme, including a commitment to advance gender equality both on and off the field.
The 2020 IOC commissions’ composition, which is established by IOC president Thomas Bach working closely with the IOC executive board, includes the appointment of two new female chairs: Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, IOC member in Thailand, has been appointed chair of the Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission; and Zhang Hong (pictured), IOC member in China, will be the chair of the newly-formed IOC Coordination Commission for the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024.
It brings the total number of commissions chaired by women to 11 out of 30, or 36.7 per cent.
Leeswadtrakul, deputy president of the Badminton World Federation and chair of the Culture Committee at the Olympic Council of Asia, has been a member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission since 2018.
Zhang won the first speed skating Olympic gold medal for China at the Sochi 2014 games, is a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, and was a member of the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026, which were awarded to Milan-Cortina.
Bach said: “Advancing women in leadership roles in sport is truly a team effort, and I want to thank all those who have contributed to this for their continued support, commitment and inspiration. There is always more that can be done, and we can make progress only if we work on this together.
“By increasing female participation in IOC commissions and the number of female chairs on IOC commissions, the IOC is hearing the female voice more and more and ensuring that women and girls can be empowered by using the powerful platform that sport provides to promote gender equality.”
Zhang will be joined by four other women on the six-strong Gangwon 2024 coordination commission: Samira Asghari, IOC member from Afghanistan; Virginie Faivre, president of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee; Heike Groesswang and Sarah Lewis, the secretary generals, respectively, of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and FIS, the international skiing federation; and José Luis Marco, of the Argentinian national Olympic committee.
A full list of all the commissions and members can be found here.