World governing body marks International Women’s Day by underlining plans to increase female representation across all areas of the sport

The IAAF has marked International Women’s Day by emphasising the world governing body’s targets to increase female representation across all areas of athletics.

While the sport has an equal number of disciplines for men and women at major championships and offers the same prize money, the IAAF says it recognises that “there is still work to do”.

As part of the reforms adopted by the IAAF Congress at the end of 2016, the IAAF has written minimum gender targets into its constitution to ensure more women are represented at all levels in the sport’s governance.

“There are currently six women on the IAAF Council, this will increase to seven in 2019 (just under 30%), 10 in 2023 (just under 40%) and 13 in 2027 (50% representation),” said the world governing body.

“In 2019 one of the four vice presidents will be a woman, with two of the four vice president positions being filled by women by 2027. In 2019 there will be two full voting members of the Council from the Athletes’ Commission, one of these will be a woman.

“Following elections last week the two members on Council in 2019 will be Athletes’ Commission chair Iñaki Gomez of Canada and deputy chair, Valerie Adams of New Zealand (pictured).”

To meet the targets, the IAAF’s Gender Leadership Taskforce, chaired by IAAF Council member Stephanie Hightower, is working with the IAAF Women’s Committee, chaired by Esther Fittko, to develop global and regional specific programmes “to ensure a robust pipeline of eligible female candidates for the 2019 elections and beyond”.

“Setting targets is important but evidence shows that targets must be supported by education and development programmes that bring more women in to all areas of the sport – from technical and medical officials to coaches and sport administrators,” said Hightower. “This needs a regional focus as the barriers to entry for women are as different as the countries they come from.”

IAAF president Seb Coe said: “We have parity in pay, parity in play but not parity in positions.

“Being able to reflect off the field of play what is widely heralded as one of the most diverse and culturally attuned sport on the field of play is critical to remaining relevant to all fans but affirmative action is the only way we will shift the dial.”

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the IAAF has created a short film showcasing some of the female role models at last weekend’s IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.

Timeline showing how the women’s programme of athletics disciplines has worked towards parity with men’s disciplines in major championships

1948 – 200m, long jump and shot put added to Olympic Games
1960 – 800m reintroduced to Olympic Games
1964 – 400m and pentathlon added to Olympic Games
1972 – 1500m and 4x400m added to Olympic Games. 80m hurdles replaced with 100m hurdles
1984 – 3000m, marathon and 400m hurdles added to Olympic Games. Pentathlon replaced with heptathlon
1988 – 10,000m added to Olympic Games
1993 – Triple jump added to all major championships
1995 – 3000m replaced with 5000m at major championships
1997 – Pole vault added to World Indoor Championships, its first appearance at an IAAF championships
1999 – Hammer and pole vault added all major championships. 10km race walk replaced with 20km race walk
2005 – Steeplechase added to World Championships
2017 – 50km race walk added to World Championships