New York, April 16 (IANS) UN Women, a United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment, on Friday said that the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will have close to equal representation of women and men competing for the first time in its history.
The Tokyo Games, which are three months away, will see the percentage of women competing touch 48.8 per cent for the first time in the history of modern Olympics. They will compete in 46 disciplines – one more than men – in the quadrennial event.
“For comparison, only 22 women (2.2 per cent) out of 997 athletes competed in the modern @Olympics for the first time in 1900. The Tokyo2020 Olympics will have close to equal representation of women and men competing for the first time in its history,” tweeted the global organisation.
They also posted a GIF, tracing the history of the growth of women athletes – and disciplines – over a period of 124 years of the Olympic movement.
For the record, the first modern Olympics, hosted by Athens in 1896, had 280 male participants from 13 nations.
The Games truly became global in 1924 Paris when 3,089 athletes competed, of which 135 were women.
According to UN Women, the 1900 Paris Olympics had 2.2 per cent participation by women; it came down to 0.9 per cent in 1904 and by the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, the percentage had risen to nine.
By the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the percentage of women had gone up to 26, and of the 8,400-odd athletes, about 2,200 were women.
Discipline-wise too, while only four were designated for women, compared to men’s 21 in 1904, it had risen to 40 in 2008 Beijing as compared to men, who competed in 41 events.
Women competed in more disciplines at the 2016 Rio Olympics — 41 as compared to men in 40 disciplines – with their percentage standing at 45.
The Tokyo Olympics will see nearly half of the athletes — 48.8 per cent – being women competing in 46 disciplines as compared to men who will take part in 45.