Bring Gender Equality to the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

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Ask the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to prioritize gender equality at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Athletes, sports fans, and advocates, we need your signature to bring gender equality to this international sports event. Join us in asking the IOC to uphold its responsibilities in line with its own Gender Equality Review Project[1].

This year, the world will be watching the highest percentage of women Olympic competitors, 48.8%. Equal participation is progress, but it doesn’t address the whole issue. Participation also means having women in senior leadership and decision-making positions for the Olympics. Women are still lagging behind in sports leadership and decision-making including coaching, management, and executive roles. We need to hold the IOC accountable in achieving its 25 IOC Gender Equality recommendations in order to advance women and girls in sports. Add your name to this petition today and help make the Olympic Games inclusive for every self-identified woman and girl, everywhere.


The IOC was founded more than a century ago to harness the power of sport at the service of humanity. It wasn’t until 1900 that women were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games; and then women made up only 2.2% of the athletes competing. The Olympic Charter now states that one of the roles of the IOC 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” (Rule 2, paragraph 7)[2]. And they’ve got a long way to go.

Among its 25 IOC Gender Equality Recommendations, the IOC has a responsibility to:

  1. Mandate all affiliated Olympic organizations and entities (such as International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, National Governing Body Members) to endorse the IOC Gender Equality Report.
  2. Ensure that all 2021 Tokyo women athletes are portrayed in the media solely on behalf of their athletic accomplishments.
  3. Establish a plan to address inequalities between genders in prize money and athletic payments.
  4. Create equal playing opportunities for all Olympic athletes, regardless of gender.

With the highest female participation than any other previous Olympics Games, women are still lagging behind in sports leadership and decision-making including coaching, management, and executive roles. Just look at some of the facts according to the IOC[3]:

  • 11% of coaches at the 2016 Olympics in Rio were women
  • 33% of IOC Members are women
  • 41% of athletes who participated in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang were women
  • Men outnumber women at senior manager level in sports even though women outnumber men by 2:1 at the manager level

Sports is a gender equality issue. Girls and women face discrimination in pursuing and continuing with sports as athletes and executives. Men’s sports team and sporting events receive greater exposure and promotion. Gender inequities are everywhere: we know that only 5% of sports media coverage features women, and by age 14 girls drop out of sports twice the rate of boys (source: Women’s Sports Foundation and Play Like a Girl).

Yet, sports and team activities are a proven way to develop girls’ leadership skills and confidence. Until we level the playing field for girls in sports, we won’t fully realize gender equality.

Other Ways to Support

  1. Sign this petition, share on social media, and be a gender equality advocate
  2. Learn more about gender equality and sports at
  3. Follow Girl Up on social media to get the latest on our efforts

Girl Up is a global organization that develops, mobilizes, and activates a powerful generation of girl changemakers who advance gender equality.

[1] See full report here: