The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will finally be electing its first female vice-president this year, in order to ensure that women are represented at the highest levels of the sport. The federation is aiming to minimize gender gap, by trying to match the number of female members to that of men in the council, by 2027, it announced on the International Women’s Day this year.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, six women currently sit on the IAAF Council. That number will increase to seven at this year’s elections in September, and to 10 in 2023, before reaching parity with male Council members in 2027. Following the election of the first female vice president at this year’s IAAF Congress, two of the four vice president positions will be filled by women in 2027,” the IAAF statement said.

The athletics body claims that there are currently six women on the IAAF council and the number will increase in the coming year.

This year’s elections, in September, will witness a new history as the body’s first female vice president will be chosen. Further mentioning about the future goal, it was also announced that the body is going to appoint more female members (taking the number to 10) in 2023 before reaching parity with the male council members in 2027. Also, two of the four vice president positions will be filled by women in 2027.

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The IAAF Council established a Gender Leadership Taskforce in 2017 to work alongside the IAAF Women’s Committee to focus on gender parity.

It also develops and organises global gender-specific programmes. “This is to ensure a robust pipeline of eligible female candidates is available for this year’s elections and beyond,’’ the statement disclosed.

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“On International Women’s Day, I’m absolutely delighted to reinforce our commitment to gender balance in the governance structures of our sport,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said. “I formed our Gender Leadership Taskforce because I want to encourage more women into our sport and to provide the pathway and programmes to allow them to do that,” he added.

Interestingly, the IAAF headquarters have 51 percent women staff, and 40 percent of them are in managerial positions.

“We have equal opportunities for women in competition, and we are committed to having equal opportunities for women in all our governance structures. I have always believed that any organisation is stronger and more effective when women are properly represented at every level,” he further said.

“We have equal opportunities for women in competition, and we are committed to having equal opportunities for women in all our governance structures”

Stephanie Hightower, chair of the Gender Leadership Taskforce, said, “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. This needs a regional focus as the barriers to entry for women are as different as the countries they come from.”

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