The 2012 London Olympic Games have finally arrived after all the hype. Whether you are a sports lover or not, as a Female Breadwinner, you may be interested to know that a proclaimed goal of these Games is to be more female friendly than ever. According to the Olympic Charter one of the roles of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures, with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women”.
In the last 20 years, the IOC has increased the number of women’s events on the Olympic programme. With the addition of women’s boxing, the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be the first in which women will compete in every sport on the Olympic programme.
But it’s not just amongst the competitors, women have also taken significant roles in the organisation and planning of the 2012 Games. Tessa Jowell, Shadow Olympics Minister, led the successful bid to secure the 2012 games for London. The Director of Sport for the London organising committee Debbie Jevans is responsible for all the sports events as well as the medical and anti-doping programmes. Even the buildings are getting the feminine touch, as the new iconic Aquatics centre was designed by a female Iraqi-British woman, Zaha Hadid. And that’s just the women who have helped make London 2012 a reality behind the scenes.
In front of the camera many of the British athletes tipped to win medals are women, including to name a few cyclist Victoria Pendleton, swimmers Joanne Jackson, Rebecca Adlngton and Keri-Anne Payne, equestrian Charlotte Dujardin and of course “face of the Games” Jessica Ennis.
However, Female Breadwinners notes it would not be a world class sports programme without a bit of gender controversy. It has emerged that both the Japanese women’s football team and the female Australian basketball team were allocated premium economy seats on their flights whilst the male teams traveled business class. Despite the fact that the female teams for both countries are better performers in their sport. Former Australian women’s basketball captain Robyn Maher said the Australian women’s team had repeatedly asked Basketball Australia to justify the inequity. “Over the years it’s been a multitude of (reasons given) — the men get better funding, so they’ve been able to do it; the men are bigger so they need more space,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s been a bit of a sore spot, especially since the women are much more successful.”
In the UK we’ve had our own share of controversy. When the women’s beach volleyball teams were told they could cover up in leggings and long sleeved shirts if the temperature dropped below 16 degrees there was outrage amongst male fans. The majority of tickets for the women’s beach volleyball event have gone to corporate sponsors and even David Cameron lamented that his view from No. 10 might not be good enough to catch all the ‘action’.
We at Female Breadwinners wish all competitors a successful Games and hope that this year’s Games will move women one step closer to equality in the traditional male dominated arena of sports.