Events & Meetings

Istanbul 2023 sees female participation exceed male participation for the first time

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  • Istanbul 2023 sees female participation exceed male participation for the first time

The Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships saw, for the first time ever at a major European athletics championship, the number of female athletes competing exceed the number of male athletes.

The championships, which took place from 2-5 March, had 278 female athletes from 45 countries in action alongside 274 male athletes from 44 countries.

It was also the first time that there have been two female stadium announcers at a major European athletics championship.

Istanbul 2023 also saw some fantastic female performances too, with Belgium’s two-time Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam going into new territory in the women’s pentathlon, the first world indoor record at the European Athletics Indoor Championships since 2011.

Another memorable and emotional moment came when Türkiye’s own Tuğba Danışmaz won the women’s triple jump gold medal with a national record, just the third time a Turkish athlete had won gold in the 53-year-history of the championships and against the backdrop of the terrible earthquakes that caused so much devastation and loss of life last month. 

Poignant details such as these highlight the fact that European Athletics is marking International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of women and heralds a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

European Athletics is working to drive gender parity and the latest Report of the European Athletics Council to the Congress details the recent constitutional changes that have been made in this area.

At the forthcoming Congress, from 21-23 April in Belgrade when elections will be held, the Constitution of European Athletics now requires that the President and the three Vice Presidents will collectively include at least two of each gender and that the 13 other Council members will include at least five members of each gender.

European Athletics has also developed several major initiatives, including the Gender Leadership Programme (formerly the Women’s Leadership Project).

As part of this Programme, the Women Leadership Webinar Project has been developed to help enhance the skills of women in, or coming into, a position of leadership. Approximately 250 participants have taken part so far.

European Athletics has also supported several national gender leadership courses over the last three years.

Additionally, the European Athletics Women Leadership Awards recognise and celebrate women leaders in athletics. The Awards' main aims are to highlight the invaluable contribution women make at the local and national levels of athletics and to inspire others to work for the benefit of the sport.

In 2021, 23 Member Federations were recognised for the contributions from the women leaders that they had nominated. The next Women Leadership Awards will be awarded at the 2023 Golden Tracks awards night in October.

European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov said: “I am proud to be celebrating the achievements of all the women involved in our sport as we celebrate International Women’s Day.

“European Athletics is dedicated to taking proactive steps to drive gender parity in athletics, offering the tools and support women need to empower themselves to succeed in our sport – whether it’s as athletes, coaches, administrators, officials or in areas such as the media.

“I invite everyone involved in our wonderful sport to step forward and embrace equity in athletics wherever they see an opportunity.”

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