Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games has made history as the most gender-balanced Olympics to date, with women accounting for 45% of all athletes. And the good news doesn’t stop there, as the wide circulation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Portrayal Guidelines and, after a few adjustments to the schedules and programmes, statistics say that we are also seeing the most balanced coverage of women’s sport in the Games’ history.
Sharing the spotlight
The International Federations (IF) and the IOC have been working closely together to ensure that both men and women share the same event venues, while giving them equal Game-time broadcast spots. For example, more women’s events have been moved to the final Saturday to increase the number of women competing on the penultimate day of the competition from the five hours reported four years ago, to nine hours.
Fair and equal exposure
The IOC has recognised the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games as a unique opportunity to adapt stereotypes and gender norms. The organisation published an updated version of its Portrayal Guidelines, in line with its Gender Equality and Inclusion Objectives for 2021-2024.
The guidelines call for fair representation and gender equality among all sportspeople, across all media and communication platforms and channels. The aim is to shift the perception of women as a marginalised group.
Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) says: “The IOC and OBS recognise their responsibilities to ensure equal and fair visibility of both female and male athletes. Our commitment is not just about the quantity of coverage, but sports organisations can help share the narrative; and as leaders and content creators, we set the tone of how women are pictured and represented.”