News05 Mar 2024

Women reach historic milestones in Glasgow as World Athletics kicks off Women’s Week


Devynne Charlton and Femke Bol (© AFP / Getty Images)

Female athletes reached new heights, distances, and speeds at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 (1-3 March) setting records and reaching historic milestones in the process.

For the first time ever at a global athletics championships, women outnumbered men on the field of play. In Glasgow, women accounted for 50.8% of all participants (298 of the 586 in total).

Women also led the way in terms of performances. Two world indoor records were broken during the championships, both by women: Femke Bol in the 400m and Devynne Charlton in the 60m hurdles.

Women also accounted for three of the five championship records, seven of the 10 area records, and 50 of the 93 personal bests. They also had a higher average result scores (1121 for women, 1094 for men).

Even in the workforce at the championships, 11 of the 15 functional area leads were women, which accounts for 75% of the local organising committee’s leadership.

On the surface, these margins may appear small, but they mark yet another significant step forward in a sport that continues to strive for full equality and equity.

These results and historic milestones come as World Athletics kicks off another edition of Women’s Week – a week dedicated to celebrating all things women in athletics – which will run from 5-10 March 2024 and coincides with International Women’s Day on 8 March. In order to highlight the occasion, all World Athletics platforms will feature a version of the World Athletics logo inspired by the colours of the suffragette movement and all related content will be about, and produced by, women.

Some of the content lined up for this year’s edition of Women’s Week includes an update on the pledges we made last year with a report card on our three-year long #WeGrowAthletics campaign. Meanwhile, our 'athletes react' video series will feature global gold medallists Valerie Adams of New Zealand, Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda and Milcah Chemos of Kenya, reflecting on the stand-out moments of their careers. Another multiple global champion, Ethiopia's Meseret Defar, will be celebrated in a Heritage feature.

Canadian international runner Sasha Gollish brings awareness to perimenopause and its potential impact on athletes. We'll also have a feature on some up-and-coming female Eritrean track and field athletes, targeting success on the international stage

In addition, on Thursday March 7, World Athletics will be hosting a webinar entitled 'Celebrating Women in Running' featuring inspirational athletes and administrators from the global road running community and will include topics such as:

  • the inspiring story of Mary Ngugi and how the Nala Track Club is helping female athletes feel safe and achieve their best
  • case studies of women-only events in Japan and Sweden
  • a wheelchair racers perspective from Catherine Debrunner
  • research-based policies to increase women’s running
  • creating opportunities for women of colour
  • what we can do to boost female leadership in the running industry

Click here to sign up.

Our Women’s Week coverage will then culminate with a film about 2022 world marathon champion and 2023 silver medallist Gotytom Gebrselase, which forms part of a new and exclusive video series on Inside Track. Gebreselase will line up at the historic Nagoya Women’s Marathon, which will conclude our Women’s Week coverage on Sunday 10 March.