By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL (He/Him)
Following the resignation of former Tokyo Olympics president Yoshiro Mori over his use of derogatory sexist comments. The new president of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, is making more directed efforts to push for gender equality within the executive board of the host committee. Hashimoto appointed 12 women to the executive board and increased the overall size of the board from 35-45 while a few resignations of previous members made it necessary to fill vacant positions.
At the start of the board meeting, Hashimoto stated, “Regarding the promotion of gender equality, we believe that it is necessary to work with a sense of speed and produce solid results in order to restore the trust in the organizing committee.”
Hashimoto herself, a former speed skater and Olympic bronze medalist, made a pointed effort to increase female participation and representation on the executive board when she took over. Previously it had been at 20% whereas the new appointments have increased this representation to 42%.
The Tokyo Olympics so far has been one of the biggest mysteries since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, in an Olympic first the games have been postponed a year as doubts still linger as to whether or not it will be held this summer. New updates and changes are reported constantly as the host committee, IOC and international sport organizations contemplate the risk factors involved and to what extent should spectators be permitted to attend.
“Regarding mutant strains [of coronavirus] that’s something we need to thoroughly think of. As long as there is anxiety, we need to make sure safety and security is going to be maintained,” said Hashimoto. “It’s not about whether it’s difficult or not [to have overseas spectators], it’s whether it would link to the safety and security of the Games for Japanese citizens. That is the priority.”
The Olympics are planned to begin on July 23rd with the Paralympics following on August 24th.