IOC scraps prestigious women’s award

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken another step to erase women from sport. The prestigious Women and Sports Awards have been scrapped in favour of the IOC Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Champions (the Awards).

Matt Carroll AM, the CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has sent an email to Olympians asking for nominations and makes no apology for the move.

Dear all,

We are pleased to advise that the IOC are seeking nominations for the IOC Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Champions (the Awards). These were previously known as the Women and Sports Awards. 

The AOC is committed to creating a sense of belonging for all and these Awards are an opportunity to showcase the great work that individuals are doing in Australia.

The Awards are presented annually to promote the advancement of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in and through sport. Six (6) Awards in the form of trophies are presented each year as follows:

  • One at world level; and 
  • One each for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Athletes can self-nominate or nominate someone else. 

Dual Olympian and 5x Commonwealth Games champion female weightlifter Deborah Acason (nee Lovely) questioned the move. “Why change the name of such a prestigious award unless the meaning of it has changed?”

Previously the awards were given to sports people or organisations that have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement and reinforcement of women and girls’ participation in sport.

By changing the name of the award, they have also changed the meaning of it. Female empowerment will no longer be the focus. Consideration will also be given to those who promote and protect males participating in female divisions of sport. 

What is the point of having male and female divisions if males can claim to be women? How will allowing males to participate in female categories inspire, protect or encourage more girls to participate? Why not focus on creating open/mixed or trans categories, or better still, encouraging males to accept other males regardless of how they present?