While gender parity is increasing amongst athletes across various editions of Summer and Winter Games – and with TOKYO 2020 and BEJING 2022 the most gender-balanced of the respective Games – there is still a lot of work to be done to increase the number of female coaches and technical officials.
The challenge of low numbers of women technical officials and coaches
Speaking at the IWG World Conference on Women and Sport’s satellite Suva Hub – one of three Hubs for the event across Oceania – President of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) Robin Mitchell said; “In Tokyo we almost had parity in the number of women taking part versus men – Beijing was almost the same number as well, and we hope this continues with PARIS 2024 right up to BRISBANE 2032.”
“But what we would like to see is more female technical officials, such as judges and referees, and also more female coaches.
“Hopefully, Team Up, the Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) and we at ONOC can pick up on this together.”
For background, the TOKYO 2020 Summer Games and BEIJING 2022 Winter Games were Olympic milestone achievements for gender parity in athlete participation with 48 percent male and 45 percent women taking part respectively.
In contrast, there were 32 percent female technical officials and only 13 percent women coaches at the TOKYO 2020 Summer Games.
ONOC addresses gender equality through the ONOC Equity Commission
President Mitchell said; “ONOC provides technical support to gender equality initiatives in sport through the work of our Equity Commission, which is chaired by Helen Brownlee of Australia.”
“Our work is to provide the avenues for women to achieve at all levels of sport – and we recognise that sport is largely run by volunteers, particularly at National Federation-level.
“Our role is to empower women as they are underrepresented in sport at all levels.”
The role of ONOC and opportunities available to federations through work with National Olympic Committees (NOCs)
President Mitchell also described the role of ONOC as one of five Continental Associations under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and provided a brief history to contextualise their work in the region.
President Mitchell said; “ONOC was established in 1981 and has 17 members and seven associate members in Oceania, with funding coming from the Olympic Solidarity Programme, which is globally about USD600 million every four years.”
“Currently, Oceania receives USD26 million every four years under the Continental Programmes, but more National Federations need to be working with their National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to access grants under World Programmes of Olympic Solidarity.
“I hope you will learn from the extensive programme over the next few days, know what is available to you, and it will be up to you and your organisation to take advantage of these opportunities and learnings.”
President Mitchell acknowledged Team Up and the Australian Government, with whom ONOC is working closer with now in the lead up to the BRISBANE 2032 Olympic Games which has been labelled ‘the Games for Oceania’.