Is There Gender Equality At The Rio Olympics?

Photo: Rex/Shutterstock.
The Olympic Games are closer to achieving gender equality than ever before, according to figures released by the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

Vox reports that 45% of competitors at Rio de Janeiro will be female, a slight rise on the previous best of 44.2% set at the London games in 2012. The percentage of female competitors has increased at every summer games since 1964, when just 13.2% of medal contenders were female.

According to figures available at the Team GB Media Centre, Great Britain and Northern Ireland are sending 366 competitors to the Rio games, of whom 164 are female and 202 are male. That represents a 45% female contingent, roughly in line with the overall figures.

By contrast, for the second consecutive summer games, Team USA are entering more female competitors than male competitors. Of their 554-strong team, 292 - or 53% - are female.

Vox also reports that 47.5% of events at the Rio games will be open to both male and female competitors, which again is a record high. While encouraging, it's worth noting that the summer games are still playing host to some strange gender-based discrepancies.

For example, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the longest distance that male pool swimmers can compete at is 1500m, whereas for female pool swimmers it's just 800m. This prevents Team USA's star swimmer Katie Ledecky from competing in one of the four solo events she won gold at during last year's world championships.

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