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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Women Made History at London 2012 Olympic Games

Dear Daughters,

For the first time in Olympic history, all nations of the National Olympic committee sent female athletes to compete in the games!

In the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, 35 nations did not send female athletes to compete. Since that time there has been a decrease in the number of nations excluding women from Olympic competition – 26 all-male teams competed in Atlanta 1996, 10 in Sydney 2000, four or five in Athens 2004, and three in Beijing 2008.

While women in Canada and other western countries have long been enjoying the right to compete at the Olympic Games, women in some countries, many Muslim, are still denied this right. Even in countries where they are not denied, competing in sports at any level is a challenge because sports are still considered to be a man’s domain.

Until the 2012 games, Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the only remaining nations who had never allowed a female athlete to compete at the Olympic Games. Qatar claims it was planning on sending female athletes even before the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) announcement that they would be putting pressure on nations who exclude women, with the possibly of those nations being banned from competition. The IOC banned Afghanistan for the 2000 Olympics based on their discrimination of women. The nation then went on to send five female athletes to Athens 2004.

It is sad that in 2012 women still need to fight against discrimination based on gender. Change does not happen overnight, but every step brings us one step closer. During the 2012 games we cheered loudly for Canada, of course, but it was amazing to watch the female athletes of Qatar, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia become part of women’s history!

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