Here is a list of suggestions/demands ‘the League of the International Rights of Women’ made. I support their ideas. What about you?
”Universality of the Olympic Charter
The Olympic Games will open in London on 27 July 2012
“The Olympic Movement has always been about more than just a sporting competition” [IOC (International Olympic Committee) President]
The only Law that governs the Games is the Olympic Charter based on universal values which each member of the Olympic Movement swears to observe (Olympic Oath).
The Olympic Charter proclaims:
• A goal: ‘to contribute to building a better world’ (Chapter 1, Rule1.1)
• Universal fundamental ethical principles, such as: ‘Any form of discrimination [including gender discrimination] is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement’ (Principle 5)
• A commitment to equality: ‘implementing the principle of equality of men and women’ (Chapter 1, Rule 2.7)
• Neutrality in sport: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted on any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’ (Chapter 5, Rule 51.3)
The Charter as a lever for the rights of women:
Where cultural and/or religious traditions govern political institutions and social mores, women are still subject to constraints linked to gender stereotypes and taboos.
In the stadium, under the same law, wearing similar attires, women athletes share with men the joy of exertion and striving for the highest goal.
1. To ban countries that exclude women from their delegation (Principle of non-discrimination):
In 1992 a feminist association the Atlanta + Committee (an offshoot of the League of the International Rights of Women)
denounced the absence of women from 35 delegations to the Barcelona Games: South Africa was excluded from the Games for 30 years for racial apartheid. Why has sexual apartheid not received the same treatment? The foundation stone laid by the Atlanta + Committee has now become part of Olympic history:
‘On the eve of the centenary celebrations of the modern Olympic Games, entirely new demands have been put forward by a European-founded feminist coalition. Quoting the Olympic Charter, which bans any form of discrimination in the Olympic Movement, the Atlanta + Committee publicly urges the IOC to exclude from the Atlanta Games any delegation that comprises only male athletes’ (extract from Vol. III of A Century of the IOC).
The number of delegations that do not include women has shrunk from 35 in Barcelona in 1992 to 3 in Beijing in 2008, thanks to pressure from the Atlanta + Committee. But why do the Games still accept countries that so openly violate the Olympic Charter?
2. To ensure neutrality in sport by banning the wearing of political or religious symbols (Rule 51 on the neutrality of sport):
As far back as 1994, Tehran delegates at the Brighton conference on ‘Women and Sport’, asked for the rules governing sport attire to
be amended to allow the wearing of garments that are imposed on all women by the Khomeini regime. In 1996 an Iranian woman athlete took part in the Atlanta Games clothed from head to toe. In 2008 at the Beijing Games, 14 delegations had veiled women: an athlete from Bahrain took part in the 400 m race totally covered, openly demonstrating a political and religious stance. In 2010 in Singapore, at the first session of the Youth Games, the IOC accepted – with the approval of FIFA – the participation of female Iranian football players covered from head to foot.
3. To stop supporting separate Games for women, which institutionalize sexual segregation in sport (Principle of non-discrimination):
Since 1993 and every four years, Iran has organised Games – replicating the Olympic format – for women from Islamic countries.
There is one major difference: the total absence of the media or male spectators. Since 1995, the Atlanta + Committee has
denounced the presence of IOC observers at these Games. The IOC justifies this by claiming that it is a step forward as it allows these women to take part in competitions. However, during apartheid in South Africa the IOC had declared that competitions organised for Blacks only were unacceptable. Why does it now approve segregation that goes against the Olympic Charter?
4. To demand effective parity between men and women within Olympic disciplines and events (Principle of non-discrimination):
Age-old disparities… The Modern Games (1896), as conceived by Pierre de Coubertin, excluded women, apart from a few disciplines that were considered secondary (golf, tennis, sailing) .
Thanks to Alice Milliat’s (one of the first women sport managers) and others persistence, in 1928 women were finally admitted to track and field events.
Since then, a long battle has been waged on two fronts: to increase the number of female participants (29% in 1992 in Barcelona, 42% in 2008 in Beijing) and to widen the range of sports open to women.
At the London Games the introduction of female boxing will open another door.
Although they show some progress, global statistics still hide the persistent lack of equality.E.g. at the Games in Beijing in 2008:
• There were 1704 more male athletes than female athletes.
• 165 medals were given to male athletes compared to 127 to female athletes because of a lower number of disciplines opened to women.
…still hidden in the ‘details’
There is now parity as regards the number of sports open to both men and women. There are discrepancies, however, as to the corresponding number of disciplines and events. Examples of disparity: in boxing, canoeing and wrestling there are fewer events for
women, e.g. canoeing has three events for men and only one for women.
5. To observe the minima determined by the IOC and increase the number of women participating in the decision-making bodies (Commitment to the promotion of equality)
Women are still a small minority in the governing bodies of the Olympic Movement, such as the IOC, NOC, OCOG, International and National Federations.
At its 105th session in Atlanta in July 1996, the IOC decided that the NOCs should allow women at least 10% of the seats in all decision-making bodies by 31 December 2000. This rate should have reached 20% by December 2005.
We are still very far from this goal! Here is a striking example: of the 19 members of the 2012 London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), only one is a woman: the Princess Royal.
6. In and around the Games: eliminate gender discrimination based on sexual stereotypes (Building a better world)
To fight against sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
• In the Olympic Movement sport has an educational role and contributes to the building of identities.
Within the framework of the Games, it is important to reject gender stereotypes and the sexualisation of the sportsman’s or
sportswoman’s image. The wording is also important: for example, describing an event as a ‘women’s event’ but not describing an event as ‘a men’s event’ is a way of saying that sport is first and foremost for men.
• Everyone has the right to take part in sport
Only a small number of sportsmen and women openly declare their homosexuality. These Games must demonstrate that the Olympic movement is aware of this issue and ready to make a lasting commitment to fight homophobia in sport at all levels.
The 2012 Games must be a secure and welcoming place where everyone must be able to take part without fear in respect of their sexual orientation.
In the same spirit, why not include the paralympic events in the Olympic Games so that all athletes can benefit from the same public and media exposure!
Fight against organised prostitution around the Olympic sites
During every large sporting event, prostitution increases dramatically. It would simply be unacceptable for London if, once again, a sporting event were accompanied by organised prostitution, as was the case at the football World Cup. Buying sex is not a sport, it is downright exploitation.
7. To pay homage to women pioneers in sport: the Marathon Gold Medal should be given to both the male and female marathon winners by the IOC President (Principle of non-discrimination)
The Marathon is still at the heart of the Games: before the closing ceremony the only Gold Medal personally given by the IOC President is to the (male) Marathon winner.
Why not to the female winner?
At the first modern Games in Athens (1896), Stamatha Revithi, a Greek woman also known as Melpomene, was refused the right to compete in the Marathon because she was a woman.
She persevered, ran a solo race, finished it in a respectable time and became a legend!
Why not organise the Marathon for both men and women, the latter starting their race before the male competitors so that the winners of both sexes can share the applause?
Our message addresses everyone but especially the Olympic Movement
This is a reminder
• to those who argue that ‘these demands are outside their remit’:
In 1958 in an open letter to the President of the IOC, Olav Ditlev-Simonsen, of the Norwegian NOC, was the first to request the exclusion of South Africa because of its apartheid policy.
• to those who prefer to compromise with requests, devoid of any connection with sport, made by certain countries:
The Olympic Oath they have sworn makes them ambassadors of the Olympic values and not of their own country’s policy.
The IOC’s only response to our many requests has been:
To welcome the growing number of women athletes participating in the Games.
This answer avoids the truth: women are still excluded, as a matter of principle, from certain delegations, just as Blacks were from the South African delegation.
The IOC never argued with the antiapartheid movement that they should be satisfied with the growing number of Black participants from other countries. It acted according to the Charter.
To keep silent on the breaching of Rule 51 and other rules of the Olympic Charter.
Enough is enough!
Why is it that what was considered by the Olympic Movement to be intolerable for Blacks is tolerable for women?
We demand an end to gender-based discrimination and stereotypes.
London must mark the turning point:
Great Britain is the birthplace of modern sports based on standardised rules and their application;
British feminism has left its mark on the history of modern societies and on democracy;
The Games are taking place in Europe, where it is claimed an ambitious plan is being developed
The 2012 Olympic Games provide a historic occasion for affirming the rights and duties of women and men in sporting competitions and for reminding participating countries of the obligation they have to respect that equality. ”