|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
Sixty womens delegates from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia rallied in London today to demand: London 2012: Justice for Women an end to gender discrimination at the Olympics.
The protest was coordinated by the European Womens Lobby, which is linked to a network of more than 1,500 womens organisations across Europe: http://goo.gl/J9Y62
In advance of the Olympics, our intention is to remind the IOC of its obligation to apply the principles of equality and neutrality inscribed in the Olympic Charter, said London 2012: Justice for Women.
See photos of todays London protest below. They are free to use, without charge.
The delegation presented letters to all IOC delegates at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, where the IOC is headquartered. The letters outline the seven equality demands made by the London 2012: Justice for Women movement.
London 2012: Justice for Women 7 Demands:
Three demands against gender discrimination:
1. Parity: Equal numbers of male and female Olympic disciplines and events
2. Decision-making bodies: apply immediately a minimum quota of 20% womens representation and set parity objectives
3. Homage and visibility: the IOC President should give the gold medal to both the male and the female marathon winners, and not only to the male winner
Three demands against sexual segregation:
4. No more male-only delegations
5. Competitors and officials must not be allowed to wear politico-religious symbols
6. IOC should no longer support gender the segregated games for women organized by Tehran
One demand to build a better world of equality and inclusion:
7. No more stereotypes (sexism, homophobia, transphobia), separation of Olympics / Paralympics, and end prostitution around the Olympics
London 2012: Justice for Women is supported by the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Its Director, Peter Tatchell said:
"The Olympic Charter outlaws discrimination in sport but these provisions are being violated with impunity. The IOC does not enforce the Olympic Charter.
"Discrimination at London 2012 is being condoned at the highest levels of the IOC.
"There are more events for men than for women. This means that men have the opportunity to win more Olympic medals than their female counterparts.
"Gender discrimination exists in athletics, canoeing, rowing, wrestling, shooting, and boxing.
"Some of the additional events for men are based on the sexist assumption that women are the weaker sex. These male-only events include the 50 km walk
and the decathlon.
"The IOC president will present the gold medal to the winner of the mens marathon but not to the winner of the womens marathon, which symbolizes to the world that the mens marathon is deemed more prestigious than the womens marathon. This is an insult to women everywhere.
"The IOC tolerates gender discrimination by competing nations and their National Olympic Committees (NOCs) by not requiring them to comply with the equality provisions of the Olympic Charter.
"Saudi Arabias government blocks women from participating in sport. Many private womens gyms have been closed down and girls are banned from taking part in sport at school.
"Saudi Arabias Olympic committee has ruled that women athletes must shroud their bodies head to toe and be accompanied by male guardians at all times.
"It has selected only two token women athletes to compete in the London Olympics. Neither woman actually lives in Saudi Arabia. One was born and raised in the US and has enjoyed sporting opportunities denied to Saudi resident women. No woman who lives in Saudi Arabia is being allowed to compete in the Olympics.
"Iran has gender segregation in sport and forces women athletes to cover their entire bodies, even if they do not want to.
"Women athletes from Iran are forbidden to have male coaches or to participate in sports that involve physical contact with male sports officials.
"In more than 150 countries, lesbian athletes have to hide their sexuality to get selected for their countrys Olympic squad; otherwise they risk not only non-selection but also employment discrimination, police harassment and possibly imprisonment. The same discrimination applies to transgender and inter-sex athletes.
"In the absence of laws against homophobic and transphobic discrimination, victimisation and bias against lesbian and transgender athletes is endemic in most competing nations.
"This gender marginalisation, discrimination and exclusion means that in many countries women have few opportunities to represent their country at London 2012, regardless of how talented they are.
"The IOCs failure to demand that participating nations comply with the Olympic Charter has resulted in an Olympics that is not a level playing field and is far from equal," said Mr Tatchell.