The ITU recognises 100 years of International Women's Day

by Merryn Sherwood on 08 Mar, 2011 08:45 • Español

The ITU has always been a proud supporter of women in sport and today it celebrates the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day by showing how triathlon is leading the way.

According to ITU race statistics the ratio of women to men competing has increased in the past six years. Figures from 2004 show that of the larger countries - who had more than 30 athletes compete in a triathlon that year – none that had a high ratio of female to males athletes actually had equal numbers of males and females compete. The highest ratio was 49.3 per cent, showing that there was almost always more guys than girls from each country.

But in 2010 three of the larger countries – who again had more than 30 participants – actually had equal or more females than males. Poland’s elite crew is made up had just 50 guys and 70 girls for a percentage of 58.33, Puerto Rico has 53.33 per cent women and Croatia’s ratio was equal with female and male athletes. Basically, bigger countries who have typically have had more male triathletes than female are starting to see the number of women increase.

And including smaller countries there were 12 in 2010 that either had equal females and males or more females than males, compared with just three countries in 2004. Which just goes to show, when it comes to participation numbers more female triathletes are hitting courses around the world.

The ITU is also leading the way when it comes to women in sport governance – as the only International Federation in the Olympics Games to have females in its two most senior roles in President Marisol Casado, who is also an IOC member, and Secretary General Loreen Barnett. The ITU is also the youngest IF in the Olympics.

The ITU has also always had equal prize money for women and men, right back to the first race in 1989.

Plenty of that credit can go to Les McDonald, the ITU’s founding president, who was last year recognised by the International Olympic Committee for his groundbreaking efforts for women in sport. McDonald received the continental trophy for the Americas at last year’s IOC 2010 Women and Sport Awards, for exceptional personalities who have made a significant difference to boost the development, participation and involvement of women and girls in sport around the world. McDonald’s passion for women’s sport started when his daughter was barred from a race, which then led to a women-only event in Vancouver.

Now, current ITU stars like Emma Moffatt, Emma Snowsill, Lisa Norden, Andrea Hewitt and Kate Roberts are some of the most recognisable female athletes in their countries.

More information on international women’s day can be found here.

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