Read more about what happened in London the 25 and the 26 of july!
The meeting with the IOC representative on July 26 took place the day after “London 2012: Justice for Women” held a symbolic funeral of the Olympic Charter in London, an event reported nationally and internationally. The organisers of “London 2012: Justice for Women” met with Mr Tomas Sithole, Director of International Cooperation and Development of the International Olympic Committee.
London 2012: Justice For Women
Press release on meeting with the IOC
London, July 27 2012
Yesterday, July 26, the organisers of “London 2012: Justice for Women” met with Mr Tomas Sithole, Director of International Cooperation and Development of the International Olympic Committee.
Attended: Martha Jean Baker, Vice president of EWL (European Women’s Lobby), Anne-Marie Lizin, honorary President of the Belgian Senate, Annie Sugier president of LDIF (International League of Women’s Rights) and delegate of CLEF (French Coordination for EWL), Linda Weil-Curiel, General Secretary of LDIF, Lisa-Marie Taylor of London Feminist Network and Sundas Hoorain of One Law for All.
The seven demands of “London 2012: Justice for Women” were outlined to Mr Sithole:
1. Parity between men and women within Olympic disciplines and events;
2. To observe the minimum level of women’s representation on Olympic governing bodies and raise to parity with men;
3. To ban countries that exclude women from their delegations;
4. To ensure neutrality in sport by upholding Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter prohibiting the wearing of political or religious symbols;
5. To stop supporting separate Games for women which institutionalise gender segregation in sport;
6. To eliminate discrimination based on sexual stereotypes;
7. For the President of the IOC to present the gold medal to the winner of the women’s marathon as he does for the men’s;
Emphasis was placed on the final demand which could be achieved at London 2012. Mr Sithole took note of this demand but stressed that the IOC has taken actions resulting in the improvement of the general situation of female athletes. He would not make any commitment regarding a significant increase of the number of women in IOC decision making bodies (in spite of the 1996 IOC resolution on this issue).
The issue of the clothing worn by some athletes was raised as challenging the principle of political and religious neutrality in the framework of the Olympics. Mr Sithole argued that it is for the International Federations to decide what clothing they allowed. He also insisted that IOC could not interfere in that matter, its only role being the organisation of the Games.
Mr Sithole was challenged on the following contradiction:
On one hand, President Rogge stated that wearing the hijab or the turban for Sikhs or the cross for Christians, is “totally compatible” with the Olympic Charter ( l’Equipe 24 07 2012)
On the other hand Mr Lassana Palenfo, specially named to deal with religion matters at the London Games, strongly stated that “the Games must remain non political and with no display of religion. Should we give in, we would have to accept special derogations and requests of Buddhists, Jewish believers”. Adding “Religion must remain a private matter”.
Mr Sithole said that he “could not give an answer on that question”.
He did not wish to make any statement about the conditions placed on the participation of female Saudi Arabian athletes by the head of the Saudi NOC, Prince Nawaf ben Faysal: ie the adherence to three Sharia Law requirements (that female athletes should wear Islamic dress, be under the guardianship of a male relative and not mix with male athletes).
The delegation informed Mr Sithole that on 25th July 2012, letters containing the seven demands were delivered addressed to each member of the Olympic Movement. Mr Sithole said he would ensure that these letters were delivered to the addressees.
Mr Sithole closed the meeting by committing himself to give a complete report on the issues raised at the IOC meeting to be held on August 8.
Note: The meeting with the IOC representative took place the day after “London 2012: Justice for Women” held a symbolic funeral of the Olympic Charter in London, an event reported nationally and internationally.