More than 600 delegates and observers from 137 countries are participating between 7 and 9 March in Marrakech (Morocco) in the III World Conference on Women and Sport.
After Lausanne in 1996 and Paris in 2000, the major stakeholders involved in issues regarding the opportunities for girls and women in sport will gather at the Conference, which is striving for new strategies and new commitments.
In his opening speech, IOC President Jacques ROGGE paid a special tribute to HRH Princess Lalla Amina, who honoured the opening ceremony with her presence, for her important contribution in the promotion of sport in Morocco. HRH Princess Lalla Amina is the Chairwoman of the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports.
Rogge also seized the occasion to officially announce that the Women and Sport Working Group, "which for almost ten years has worked tirelessly to implement programmes that enable women and girls from around the world to feel part of the global move for women's promotion in and through sport,"
has been upgraded to a full IOC Commission. He particularly underlined the important role IOC member Anita DEFRANTZ, Chairwoman of the Women and Sport Commission, has played over the years.
The IOC President further committed himself to contribute to the promotion of Women in Sport. "The IOC will continue in the future, as in the past, to strive to do even better so that women occupy the place they deserve in the Olympic Movement. This Conference offers an excellent opportunity to encourage greater equality of opportunities for women in sports activities, whether as athletes or as sports leaders,"
The IOC has already made great efforts towards increasing women's participation in the Olympic Games. Through Olympic Solidarity, the Olympic Movement also lends its support to women in developing countries to reduce the gap between the countries, for greater universality.
In a few months in Athens, a record 44% of athletes will be women. The IOC expects an equal number of men and women to compete in future Games. "Our ultimate goal must be 50-50 participation",
Rogge said in his speech.