Offentliggjort den 18. maj 2016
Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Many exceptional women and girls have inspired and changed the world. They have accomplished great results and have become generational role models.
Also in the world of sport.
Inge Sørensen was one of them. She was a fantastic swimmer and participated in the Olympic Games in 1936. She was only 12 years old.
She was Denmark’s youngest participant at the time, which is also how she got her nickname - Young Adorable Inge.
When she returned from the Olympics with a bronze medal, the Danish population went wild in celebrations and led to a boom in women’s swimming.
Mette Jacobsen is another Danish swimmer who more recently has inspired her generation. Also she achieved great results. She has won 36 Championships and World Cup medals and has participated in five Olympic Games.
These two highly regarded athletes are but a few of the many women who have inspired young girls to follow their lead, and pursue their life’s dream.
All women and girls should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
The IOC strongly supports the UN development goal number 5 – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
This is also why the IOC has a specific program that supports women. Some of the focus areas are:
- encouraging women in sport at all levels.
- a leadership training programme.
- a variety of mentor programmes that help empower women.
By physical activity we can break down barriers in schools, at the workplaces, in homes and many other places. In the world of sports we do it every day, by providing a framework of equal terms for men and women, for boys and girls. In the IOC we strive for excellence, friendship and respect, regardless of gender, religion and ethnicity. That is what the Olympic Games are all about.
In the Danish National Olympic Committee we have set a goal of getting more than 600.000 Danes to be active in sport by 2025. It’s called the “Move for life” campaign.
And we will only succeed if women and men, and girls and boys get on board.
We build on a strong sporting tradition with the clubs as the foundation of both social and sporting activities. In more than 9000 sport clubs young and old meet each other while practising a sport. 90 % of all Danes under 18 years of age have at some stage in their childhood been member of a sportsclub.
Being a member of a sport club results in better health better well-being and having fun. But it also teaches you at a young age to take responsibility and to be part of a group, a team that has a purpose.
Gender equality is a high priority in Denmark. And we have come far. One of the reasons is our sporting tradition, where we learn from a young age that the playing field is equal, regardless of gender, social status and ethnicity. It’s about doing your best, respecting the rules, and be of good cheer.
Excellence - Friendship - Respect. These are Olympic values. Soon we will see athletes compete on the basis of these values in Rio. I am sure that many of us look forward to seeing them in less than 100 days now.
We must approach the gender issue with the same kind of enthusiasm and determination.
I will end by quoting another great woman – Maya Angelou. She was an important woman in the American Civil Rights Movement. She has said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.