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World Athletics Commits To Gender Equality With Pledge

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The world governing body of athletics, World Athletics (WA), announced that they will have a female vice-president by the end of the year as part of its gender equality plans for the sport.

WA will also have 40 per cent female representation on the Council and will increase the number of women on its Council from the current eight, to a minimum of 10 members, including at least one female vice-president. This will happen at the Council elections in August.

“I am immensely proud World Athletics is once again leading the way for gender equity in sport,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said. “It was an important part of the reforms we introduced in 2016. In today’s world, it is not enough to provide equal opportunity, we must provide equity.”

World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe.

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“In order to achieve true equity in our sport, it is important that we offer our female athletes, administrators, and officials the tools and environment they need to be empowered to pursue careers at all levels of athletics. Be it by setting quotas for female representation on our Council.”

“Or providing more flexible learning and development opportunities that better suit women’s commitments – we are absolutely dedicated to making our sport equitable and representative for all. We are happy to lead the way on gender equity initiatives and set the example for other International Federations,” Coe added.

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Other pledges, released in celebration of International Women’s Day, include increasing the number of female coaches at the World Championships to at least 20 per cent by Tokyo 2025.

World Athletics will encourage member-federations to send more female coaches and provide the learning pathway in countries where women are under-represented at the coaching level. Also, the 214 member-federations will implement individual safeguarding policies by end of 2023.

World Athletics has also extended its Ukraine Solidarity Fund, enabling dozens of female Ukrainian athletes to take part in World Athletics Series events. Last year, through the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, it supported more than 100 Ukrainian athletes along with their immediate family members, coaches and technical officials.

The support was for them to train, qualify, and participate in World Athletics Championships events. Female athletes made up 70 per cent of athlete beneficiaries with 400m hurdler Anna Ryzhykova, who won bronze at last year’s European Championships, one of them.

400m Ukrainian hurdler Anna Ryzhykova.

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“By participating in competitions, we do not let the world forget about the existence of the country that is Ukraine,” Ryzhykova said. “We draw attention to ourselves with our achievements, give interviews, communicate with other athletes and fans so that people can know first-hand what is happening in Ukraine.”

“This is how we resist Russian propaganda and do not allow the honour of Ukraine to be tarnished. Raising the flag at competitions, we show the whole world that we are strong and honest, able to fight, overcome difficulties no matter what. We deserve to live and preserve our nation, but now we need help and support.”

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