The Olympic Federation of Ireland has secured a major win for gender equality at a European level with the passing of a motion to introduce a minimum 30 per cent gender balance on the European Olympic Committee Executive Group.

Delegates of the European Olympic Committees 49th General Assembly passed the amendment to its constitution on Friday.

OFI President and current Chair of the EOC Gender Equality Commission, Sarah Keane, in her initial proposal to the EOC, referred to a communication from IOC President Thomas Bach to all members of the Olympic movement, asking them to adopt measures to meet the IOC Agenda 2020 gender target of 30% for gender representation on Olympic governing bodies.

This specifically means that from the date of the next EOC election in 2021, the EOC Executive Committee must contain a minimum of five members from each gender, equating to that 30 per cent figure.

Addressing the 50 EOC voting members remotely, Keane urged Europe to take a leading position within the world Olympic movement and highlighted that greater gender diversity would make the EOC stronger and more responsive.

A two-thirds majority (36 of 50) was required for the vote to pass and the final vote came in at 43 out of 50 or 86 per cent in favour.

“This is a massive step forward for gender equality, said Keane.

“There are a lot of views on how you might progress the gender agenda, and strive for balance; the most important thing, though, is taking concrete action.”

“As a European community, we are made up of diverse nations, and we value and thrive on this diversity. Today we saw the extent of how sport binds us together.”

“It is inspirational to see the EOC leading from within. Through discussion, through listening, learning and sharing we have the ability to make substantial change, and today’s progress is testament to that.”

Member sporting bodies of the Olympic Federation of Ireland last September unanimously approved a minimum of 40 per cent gender representation on the Executive Board of the OFI.


Sport for Business Partners