Queen's University

Queen's professor questions Olympic Games touting gender equality

2012-07-31

Queen’s University law professor and gender studies expert Kathleen Lahey is available to comment on sex equality in the Olympic movement. During the opening ceremonies, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said history was being made at the London Olympics because every country has sent at women to the 2012 games. Professor Lahey suggests that there is more to equality than simply having at least one woman from each country.

“One question that is emerging is why the international sport federations seem to be very interested in making sure that women competitors dress in feminine competitive attire -- hence attempts to have women boxers and badmitten competitors wear skirts and size restrictions on women's beach volleyball uniforms.," says Profesor Lahey. "And what is the process for admitting women into existing events? Do women have to convince their international federations? Or can the IOC dictate women's inclusions not just on a per-country basis but also in all sports and events?"

Finally, when will the IOC itself comply with its own charter? "At present, there is only one woman on the 15-person IOC Executive Board, the decision making centre of the IOC. How can such an imbalanced board be expected to counter the weight of longstanding stereotypes and discrimination in the Olympic movement?"

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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