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European Commission


Brussels, 3 July 2012

London 2012: Reding and Vassiliou urge Olympic and Paralympic chiefs to press for better representation of women in sport

More needs to be done to strengthen the representation of women in sport and in sport governing bodies, as well as the fight against discrimination and sexual harassment. This is the message in a letter from two leading European Commissioners to the Presidents of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC), ahead of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Viviane Reding, Commission Vice-President in charge of justice and Androulla Vassiliou, who is responsible for education, culture, multilingualism, youth and sport, welcome the fact that these will be the first Olympic and Paralympic Games where women are competing in every sport in the programme. "It is an important milestone in the long struggle for real gender balance between women and men in sport," they state in their letter to Jacques Rogge (President IOC) and Philip Craven (President, IPC). But they say more efforts are needed to achieve an "acceptable" representation of women in sport and sport governing bodies.

They highlight that gender equality is both a founding principle of the European Union and a fundamental right, as well as a necessary condition to meet the EU's economic and social objectives.

The Commission's strategy for equality between men and women for 2010-2015 defines key actions to advance gender equality, ranging from getting more women into company boardrooms to tackling gender-based violence. The Commission is already supporting gender-related projects in which European Olympic and Paralympic sport organisations are involved and the Commissioners call for these actions to be part of a common framework developed with the IOC and IPC in future. They also envisage a roadmap on gender equality in sport, with objectives for governmental and non-governmental organisations to be achieved by 2020. The EU Sport Forum hosted by the Commission on 19-20 September in Nicosia will discuss this latter idea as part of its agenda for good governance in sport.

The London Olympics take place from 27 July-12 August, and the Paralympics from 29 August-9 September.

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