News08 Mar 2024

World Athletics #WeGrowAthletics pledges report card


World Athletics Women's Week

Initially launched on International Women's Day 2021 with the ambition of making substantial gains in eliminating gender bias in athletics, our #WeGrowAthletics campaign has made notable strides in fulfilling or initiating the pledges we have made in the last 36 months. The below list provides an update on the pledges’ progress and implementation:

2023 pledges:

#WeGrowAthletics by providing more opportunities in our sport to empower girls and women across the world. 

#WeGrowAthletics by doing more to tackle inequality and #EmbraceEquity.

  • We participated in a mass participation panel to discuss policies and practical implementations to make road running events more maternity friendly and we continue to gather more data.
  • The World Athletics Safeguarding Policy was revised, making it mandatory for Area Associations to have their own safeguarding policies and procedures by the end of 2024.
  • We promoted more, better, and fairer coverage of our female athletes by conducting and/or commissioning research across the entire media landscape – including a third online abuse study at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

#WeGrowAthletics by celebrating pioneering women in our sport for girls and women of all generations.

#WeGrowAthletics by standing in solidarity with our Ukrainian athletes.

2022 pledges:

#WeGrowAthletics by celebrating the women who make our sport
through sharing inspiring stories of role models across all levels.

  • We celebrated our second edition of World Athletics Women’s Week, with all feature content on World Athletics platforms about and produced by women.
  • Our new ‘Women in Athletics’ website section launched to highlight the stories of inspiring women all year round.
  • Over the course of the year, we commissioned and gathered inspiring stories of women all around the world, which instead of being collated into a bound copy, will be shared in a new section on the Women in Athletics page, highlighting one story every day beginning 8 March 2023 until 7 March 2024 – 365 in total – to create a fully digital collection, making it more accessible and more sustainable…

#WeGrowAthletics by creating more opportunities for women to shine, be it in the media, on the field of play, as community leaders or in administrative positions.

  • As outlined in the 2016 reforms, we’re on track for a 50:50 gender split of the World Athletics Council, with the number of women on the Council set to increase to 40% and a minimum of 10 members – including at least one female Vice President.
  • Following the Athletes’ Commission Elections in 2022, the make-up of the Commission changed from 55% male representation and 45% female to 55% female and 45% male representation.
  • For the first time in event history, the World Athletics Championships ended on a women’s discipline – the women’s 4x400m relay. This will also be the case at this year’s World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 with the women’s 4x400m relay closing the event.
  • We began a review of one-day meetings and road events with regards to gender equity in scheduling, coverage, and remuneration. For example, in 2022 there were 119 women’s versus 117 men’s events on the Wanda Diamond League circuit, while across the whole of the World Athletics Continental Tour there were 1181 men’s versus 1103 women’s
  • During 2022, we had a 50:50 gender split across editorial and social teams covering three World Athletics Series events (in Oman, Oregon and Cali). We’ve also expanded our freelancer network across the world with a particular emphasis on women.
  • At the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, we commissioned two Black Women Photographers network members to capture unique behind the scenes images of our championships and we will continue to #HireBlackWomenPhotographers in 2023.
  • #WeGrowAthletics funded the women’s World Record Programme at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 as well as the women’s bibs during the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23.
  • Both of our Media Development Programmes in 2022 had gender parity in their speakers, lecturers, and facilitators.

#WeGrowAthletics by fostering gender diversity and female empowerment through mentorship, grassroots, safeguarding, contracts, and partnerships.

  • In line with our commitment to safeguarding and the introduction of our safeguarding policy, Member Federations have been provided with a variety of resources to implement their own safeguarding policies by the end of 2023. These include but are not limited to a newly-launched, dedicated Safeguarding section on the World Athletics website featuring templates, guides and other materials in seven languages.
  • Furthermore, in an effort to ensure our sport is a welcoming and safe environment, we ran a second Online Abuse Study covering the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 – highlighting that almost 60% of abuse targeted female athletes and the need for better protection of athletes on social media platforms.
  • On July 18 we organised ‘Out of the Blocks’, a Gender Leadership Conference celebrating the achievements of women in our sport and discussing barriers, solutions, and pathways for women in athletics.
  • The Gender Leadership Taskforce also expanded its eLearning offering in 2022 and began work on a Mentorship Programme it is planning to introduce this year.

2021 pledges:

#WeGrowAthletics by empowering women to pursue leadership positions:

  • We’re on track for a 50:50 gender split of the World Athletics Council by 2027 (currently at 30% with 2023 elections outlining 40% as a target).
  • 10 women’s activities took place across Area Development Centres, involving nearly 600 participants. (Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all activities took place online.)
  • World Athletics hosted three gender leadership educational webinars and two Member Federation info sessions dedicated to gender equity.
  • An eLearning gender leadership course was launched in November 2021. It consists of seven modules (55 lessons, eight hours of learning) with a career and development plan to complete during the course.

#WeGrowAthletics by breaking with traditions:

  • All stats on now default to women’s events.
  • Review of World Athletics Series event timetables to ensure women’s events are in the spotlight – for the first time in event history, the World Athletics Championships will end on the women’s 4x400m this summer (2022).
  • For the first time in history, the World Athletics Awards was hosted by two women – Paula Radcliffe and Jazmin Sawyers – with the Female World Athlete of the Year, Elaine Thompson-Herah, announced last in the programme.

#WeGrowAthletics by ensuring a platform for women’s voices and tackling online abuse:

  • We celebrated World Athletics Women’s Week from 8-14 March 2021, with all feature content on World Athletics platforms focusing on and being produced by women. Revisited Women’s Week every month to tell more women’s stories.
  • We ensured gender balanced commentary teams for Continental Tour Gold and World Indoor Tour Gold international feeds.
  • We saw the first ever international female in-stadium announcer at the Olympic Games with two women as the Japanese-language in-stadium voices.
  • For the first time ever, World Athletics employed an all-women editorial reporting team on site in Nairobi during the World Athletics U20 Championships (gender-balanced teams of photographers, PR, Twitch and remote).
  • World Athletics conducted an online abuse study during the Tokyo Olympics to highlight the need for platforms to protect – especially female – athletes from online abuse. Findings here.