Five women from different parts of the world have been awarded the Women in Sport Trophy, which is presented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in recognition of public figures and organizations that have helped develop and promote the participation of women in all areas of sport, including administration and positions of leadership.
This Olympic prize, which has been awarded since 2000 to representatives from each continent, was received on this occasion by: Sara Rosario, president of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico (the Americas), Egyptian journalist Mervat Hassan (Africa), Sheikha Hayat Bin Abdulaziz Al Khalifa of Bahrain (Asia), Stavroula Kozompoli (Greece), and the Australian Olympic medalist Cathy Freeman (Oceania). The New Zealand Olympic Committee, the recipient of the World Winner trophy, was represented by Secretary General Kereyn Smith.
The event, which took place on November 10 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the IOC’s Women in Sport Commission, which was founded in 1995, when the United Nations held the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. The Declaration of Beijing established a number of important strategic objectives and measures for the advancement of women and women’s rights. With this framework, the Olympic Committee has consistently advocated for the presence of women in sports across the world for two decades.
Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, and Lydia Nsekera, chair of the Women in Sport Commission, have expressed their satisfaction with the increased gender balance of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games set to take place in Buenos Aires, which will see the most participation from women in the history of the games.
At the ceremony, each of the winners emphasized the power sport has to empower women. The representative of New Zealand, Kereyn Smith, noted that 50 percent of the gold medals awarded to New Zealand’s Olympic delegation were won by women. “We know that, through sport, women can both build and demonstrate the same qualities that also make great leaders—we have been working hard to strengthen and promote this link.”
Sara Rosario, who in 2012 became the first woman elected president of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico, said in an aside to the press.
This article was initially published at globalvoices