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Number of female participants in the winter Olympics 1924 to 2018

In 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin Participation, who held strong believes about the role of women in sport, established the modern Olympic Games. It is not surprising that women were excluded from the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896. Despite strong objection from de Coubertin, the 1900 Summer Olympics, held in Paris, became the first event to which female athletes were permitted to participate. Participation for women was still heavily restricted to only five sports that were considered to be compatible with their femininity and fragility, tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf. Since this time the participation of women within the Olympic Games has increased significantly, however it was not until the 2012 Olympic Games in London that there was female representation within all sports in the Olympic program.

Gender Inequality in the Winter Olympics

At the first winter Olympic Games in 1924, only 11 women competed out of the 258 athletes who attended the games. The regulatory exclusion of female participants from many of the major sporting disciplines remained a very prevalent issue with participation restricted to only one sport, figure skating. It wasn’t until the 1936 games that women were allowed to compete in another sport besides figure skating. It was at those games Alpine Skiing was introduced to both male and female athletes.

Recent Trends

This statistic shows the number of female participants in the winter Olympic Games from 1924 to 2018. It displays a consistent increase in the number of female participants between 1924 and 1994, representing the increasing number of sports that were available for women to compete in. Despite an increase in the number of female participants between 1960 and 1992, there was also a substantial increase in the total number of participants, as such the share of female participants during this period did not increase. In 1991 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision that any new sport seeking to be included on the Olympic program had to include women’s events, as such the rate of increase in the number of female participants can be seen to have increased from the late 1990s. The most female athletes to ever participate in the winter Olympic Games took place within the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games.

Number of women participants in the Olympic winter games from 1924 to 2018

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period

1924 to 2018

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Statistics on "Winter Olympics 2018"

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