Olympics: Call to stamp out sexism and harassment

In the run-up to the Olympic Games, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has written to the games governing body to express its concern about sexism in the world of sport.

Sakshi Malik, symbol of women empowerment in India, celebrates her bronze medal in the women's 58 kg wrestling category on August 17, 2016 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP

The IFJ letter, calling on the International Olympic Committee to ensure the safety and well-being of female competitors and journalists, insisted sporting values must prevail and that it is intolerable that women are subjected to harassment, gender-based violence, insults and humiliation. 

Voices have increasingly been raised against the prevailing misogyny in sport. In Brazil, where the last Olympic Games took place, the hashtags #DeixaElaTrabalhar (“let her work”) or #JornalistasContraOAssédio (“journalists against harassment”) testified to the extent of sexism in sport and faced by journalists. And it has been exposed again this year, as before the competition even began, the 2021 Olympics have already been marked by sexist statements. It is essential that the Olympic Committee takes concrete action to ensure that everyone's rights are respected, during the Games but also for the future.

The IFJ letter said: "We call on the Committee to ensure that sexism is avoided by using all the means at its disposal and that, in the event of threats, harassment or inappropriate behaviour, swift action is taken”. Everyone’s cooperation and commitment is needed to provide a safe environment. The IFJ, as the representative of 600,000 journalists in more than 140 countries around the world, wants to offer the necessary assistance to ensure that these measures will be effective for both athletes and journalists, and that the Olympic Games live up to the sporting values they promote.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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