Women and the Olympic Games


The Olympic Games, which were founded again in 1894 by Coubertin as a celebration of virility, were reserved for male athletes. Women were admitted in 1900 as participants in sports that were considered to be compatible with their femininity and fragility, but were excluded from the showpiece events of track and field. On the initiative of the Frenchwoman Alice Milliat and the International Women’s Sports Federation (FSFI), a power struggle began with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Women’s Olympiads were organized from 1922 to 1934 in an effort to force the committee to yield. The Olympics slowly became feminized, although gender imbalance was dominant throughout the twentieth century, including in the IOC. To combat the effects of gender, the Olympic charter has made the presence of women mandatory in every sport since 2007. In 2014, the European Commission defended equality in sport, and the IOC added gender parity to the 2020 Olympics agenda.