During Friday's opening session, Lord Sebastien Coe, head of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, proudly announced that 50% of all London Olympics management staff are women, and that for the first time in Olympic history, the Director of Sport is a woman (Debbie Jevans). While Lord Coe announced 17% ethnic diversity, there was alas no mention of LGBT inclusion. We know has been an effort for LOCOG, and regret that Lord Coe remained silent on this "thread" of diversity.
Ms. Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of the Education and culture Affairs Bureau for the US Department of State, laid out the three-pronged effort of Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton's "Smart Power Diplomacy" initiative, which will employ Mentors, Envoys and visitors between the US and 190 countries to engage and empower women through sports initiatives. Stating "Women achieve higher education and employment when active in sports," Ms. Stock went on to state that the Smart Power Diplomacy initiative will kick off this September, the 40th anniversary of Title IX which provided equal opportunities for women in collegiate and scholastic sports programs. US soccer player Danielle Slayton is currently in Malaysia as part of the State Department's effort. As a Mentor, Slayton is focusing on teaching leadership skills, the importance of team work and how to make effective lifetime network connections. A few of the initial countries engaged in this initiative include the Caribbean, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
Roland Rich, Executive Director of the United Nations Democracy Fund made a presentation on what the UNDF has been doing to promote women through their efforts. "Women are the largest marginalized society on the planet" Rich stated. "Engaging them provides the greatest opportunity to change the patriarchal politics. The role of women in any given society is a good litmus test of modernity. The IOC and the UN strongly embrace this belief and look forward to a successful, continuing partnership in this effort."
Read all our coverage of this conference HERE.