As the Olympics come to a close I've been reading about how historic these Games have been. This is the first year that all participating nations have sent female athletes. As recently as 1996, 26 nations only sent male athletes as representatives. That's mind blowing. And the gender gap will continue to close: the shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell (not to be confused with being a shadow or running the Shadow Olympics- she's shadowing the current minister for the future Summer 2014 Games in Rio) wants Rio to be the first Games with the same amount of medal opportunities for men and women. And I couldn't be more excited about it.
Currently there are 30 more medals available to men than women. This was the first year for women's boxing and judo and those sporting events were just as well attended as the men's portion of the same sports. There was no lack of competitors or audience. There's a place for female athletics to be on the same scale as male athletics. I don't believe it to be anyone's goal to eliminate men's sports to help even out the number. That defeats the point of sportsmanship. So Rio is probably not going to be the first gender equal Olympics but it's going to be closer than ever before. (It's also worth noting that the majority of gold medals for the US has been earned by female athletes...) Good luck, Tessa Jowell. I'll be rooting for you.
If I have children I want them to live in a world where this isn't an issue. Already it's not an issue that a black man can be president. That is a wonderful, amazing thing. It shouldn't be an issue that men and women have unequal opportunities. Sadly, it will be even if that's not the case at the Olympics. But if major changes can be made in the global theatre, what's stopping a trickle-down effect? If the Olympics can be one of the first places of gender equality, then what's next? Major corporations? The playground? We are only limited by our imaginations. So let's dream together.