EWL News

EWL members bury the Olympic Charter to mark the death of Olympic values

[London, 25 July 2012] Two days ahead of the opening of the Olympic Games, EWL members and partners have symbolically buried the Olympic Charter to denounce the discrimination and abuse taking place at sporting events.

In the context of the campaign ‘London 2012 Olympics: Justice for Women’ initiated by the EWL Coordination in France, EWL partners from France, Belgium, but also from Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, UK and Slovenia organised today a demonstration in London to condemn gender discriminations and violence at sporting events. The demonstration was covered by Chanel 4 News - watch the video.

The day started with a press conference at which the EWL presented its seven recommendations to promote women’s rights in sport. All seven recommendations are based on the principles established by the Olympic Charter including the rejection of sex-based or gender-based discrimination; the promotion of equality between women and men; and neutrality in sport whereby the wearing of any political or religious symbols by the athletes is forbidden. During this conference, EWL President Sonja Lokar noted the importance of sport in the daily lives of millions of women and men. This advocacy action, she stressed, aims to draw attention to the discrimination against and marginalisation of women in sport, despite the excellent Olympic Charter which should be a strong warranty of their equal treatment and equal chances.

After the conference, the participants gathered on the deck of the Hispaniola ship on the river Thames. A funeral ritual was performed and the Olympic Charter was thrown into the water as a sign of protest against the ongoing discrimination and abuse taking place in the context of the 2012 Olympic Games. A delegation of six participants then went to the Hilton Hotel in order to hand out 400 envelopes with the seven requests to all members of national and international Olympic Committees.

With the upcoming opening of the 2012 Olympic Games, the EWL hopes to raise awareness on the issue of discrimination and prostitution at sporting events. The 2012 Olympic Games will be in some respects more egalitarian than precedent games: for the first time, female athletes will indeed compete in all 26 sports. Yet women are still subject to sexist discrimination and abuse. In the field, these discriminations are obvious: regardless of wins, female athletes are still marginalised by sponsors and media coverage. Other abuses are less visible, but sporting events are regularly coupled with a boom in prostitution. Ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, predictions were for more than 40,000 women and children to be trafficked into the country to meet the prostitution demands of millions of football fans. Sex attacks were reported in the athletes’ village in Sydney, Astralia in 2000 while prostitution almost doubled in Greece during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

In order to cast light on these issues, the EWL is running a long-term campaign dedicated to prostitution and sport. To find out more about our advocacy efforts, click here and join us!

Photo © Paolo d Sharp

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