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Olympics: Tokyo 2020 organisers to increase ratio of women

ATHLETICS By Reuters | March 2nd 2021
Olympic rings. [Reuters]

The Tokyo Olympics made a symbolic gesture towards gender equality yesterday by appointing 12 women to the body’s executive board.

The board will now have 19 women among its 45 members, a 42 per cent representation.

To accommodate the additional women, the size of the board was increased from 35 to 45. Several resignations yesterday also created more space.

The move was announced by CEO Toshiro Muto after an executive board meeting. The names of the new members were expected to be announced today.

Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the organising committee, prompted the changes. She took over last month after 83-year-old former president Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making derogatory comments about women. Essentially, he said they talk too much.

“Regarding the promotion of gender equality, we believe that it is necessary to work with a sense of speed and produce solid results in order to restore the trust in the organising committee," Hashimoto said at the start of the board meeting.

Hashimoto, a former Olympic bronze-medal winner in speedskating, promised when she took over to increase female participation in the body's executive board. It had stood at about 20 per cent.

Muto also said the board will now have one female vice president among seven.

Japan ranks 121st out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-equality ranking, and women are seldom found in leadership roles or in the boardroom.

The move is unlikely to have long-term impact. Tokyo Olympic organising committee employs about 3,500 people, but will be dissolved after the postponed Olympics take place.

 

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