Note: This statement was issued at a Feb. 24 rally organized by Women’s Ski Jumping USA in Vancouver, Canada, the site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The next Winter Olympics will take place in 2010. Let me repeat, Two-Thousand and Ten. We are well into the 21st century, yet women ski jumpers still are not permitted to compete at their sport’s highest level.
The National Organization for Women calls on the International Olympic Committee to right this wrong immediately. The exclusion of women from this sport, which is open to men, is unwarranted and unfair. We reject outdated notions that ski jumping is not “appropriate” for women because it is disproportionately hazardous to their health. And we firmly disagree with claims that the current level of competition in women’s ski jumping does not justify its addition to the Olympic games.
Since 1998, women from 16 nations have participated in international ski jumping competitions, and the International Ski Federation finally added women’s ski jumping to the upcoming 2009 world championships. Throughout its 42 year history, NOW has promoted equality for women in all arenas, including sports. Exclusion of women and girls from athletic opportunities is discrimination, plain and simple, and it can have a profound impact on their health, well-being and future.
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self esteem, lower levels of depression, and higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports — and 80 percent of female executives at Fortune 500 companies reported having played sports.
But for right now, there are women around the globe who want to fly. NOW calls on the IOC to let Vancouver in 2010 be the place and the time for women ski jumpers to make their Olympic dreams come true.