The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed the appointment of Dagmawit Girmay and Dagim Zinabu as the Women in Sport Commission.
The former Ethiopian Olympic Committee president and current IOC member, Dagmawit, and the well-known women sports journalist Dagim Zinabu were selected, making them the only two Ethiopians to be in charge within the IOC’s Women in Sport Commission.
Dagim, who has spent more than a decade working on women’s sport journalism, has played a pivotal role in Ethiopian women sports. “It is really a great pleasure for me to be a member of the IOC and a member of the Women in Sport Commission,” Dagim Zinabu told The Reporter.
The role of the Women in Sport Commission is to advise the IOC Session, the IOC Executive Board and the IOC President on the development and implementation of the IOC women and sport policy. Furthermore, it has a role to promote equal opportunities for girls and women to participate in, and benefit from sport and physical activity.
The responsibilities of the Commission are to advise on the development and implementation of an IOC women in sport strategy, advocacy for increased participation of women athletes in the Olympic program and in leadership positions in the Olympic Movement, promoting the rights and well-being of women and girls in and through sport and greater access to sport for girls and women.
Furthermore, recognition of achievements of individuals and organizations promoting women through sport, are among the duties of the commission.
In addition, the IOC has announced the composition of its Commission for 2020. The composition has once again shown a year on year progress towards gender equality, with 47.7 percent of its positions across 30 commissions now held by women, an increase from 45.4 percent in 2019.
It is another all-time high and a concrete manifestation of one of the key focuses of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, which is to encourage the whole Olympic Movement to advance gender equality, in both on and off the field.
According to the IOC, since 2013, as a result of the Olympic Agenda 2020; female participation in the IOC commissions has more than doubled (from the 20 percent in 2013). This year’s IOC commission week is scheduled from November 2-8, 2020. It will be decided at a later stage if the meetings are going to be held in person or remotely.
The 2020 IOC commissions’ composition, which is established by the IOC President working closely with the IOC Executive Board, also includes the appointment of two new female chairs.
Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, IOC Member in Thailand, has been appointed Chair of the Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission; and Zhang Hong, IOC Member in China, will be the Chair of the newly-formed IOC Coordination Commission for the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024.
This brings the total number of commissions chaired by women to 11 out of 30, some 36.7 percent.
Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul became the first Thai woman to be elected as an IOC Member at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, in 2017. She currently holds the position of Deputy President of the Badminton World Federation and is Chair of the Culture Committee at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). She has been a member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission since 2018, and brings a wealth of experience from both the sporting and cultural domains to her new role.
Zhang Hong won the first ever speed skating Olympic gold medal for China at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014. In 2015, she became a Promotion Ambassador for Beijing’s bid to host the Olympic Winter Games 2022. At the 132nd IOC Session in PyeongChang, Zhang was elected the IOC Athletes’ Commission. She is also a member of the Athletes’ Entourage Commission and was a member of the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Advancing women in leadership roles in sport is truly a team effort, and I want to thank all those who have contributed to this for their continued support, commitment and inspiration,” said IOC President Thomas Bach adding, “There is always more that can be done, and we can make progress only if we work on this together.”
President Bach said “By increasing female participation in IOC commissions and the number of female chairs on IOC commissions, the IOC is hearing the female voice more and more and ensuring that women and girls can be empowered by using the powerful platform that sport provides to promote gender equality.”
Another highlight to the announcements was the unveiling of the composition of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024. This new Commission will support the organization of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Asia.
The Commission comprises of six members – of whom five out of the six are women. They come from a variety of backgrounds and culture, and they all bring with them a wide-ranging experience from different Olympic Games editions, gained most recently during the extremely successful Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne 2020.
Chair Zhang will be joined by IOC Member in Afghanistan, Samira Asghari, President of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, Virginie Faivre; two representatives from Winter International Federations, Heike Groesswang and Sarah Lewis; and a National Olympic Committee (NOC) representative, José Luis Marco, from the Argentinian NOC.