8 March 2024

IWD shines a light on Taekwondo’s commitment to gender parity

On International Women's Day, we celebrate the remarkable achievements of women across the globe, while also advocating for greater gender equality in all spheres of life.

In this spirit, Taekwondo emerges as a shining example of inclusivity and accessibility within the realm of combat sports. Australian Taekwondo takes immense pride in its involvement in a global Taekwondo community that champions inclusivity and gender equality.

Unlike many other sports, Taekwondo stands out for its commitment to gender parity. Men and women train together, compete side-by-side, vie for equal prize money in the same events, and offer able body and para disciplines.

Notably, Taekwondo made history by achieving gender balance among referees at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, setting a precedent for other sports to follow. Additionally, initiatives such as allowing the wearing of the hijab under headgear have played a pivotal role in fostering greater female participation.

In Australia, the journey towards gender equality in Taekwondo has been a transformative one. Despite historical underrepresentation, significant strides have been made to broaden access and opportunities for women and girls at all levels of the sport.

Today, the landscape of Australian Taekwondo is witnessing tangible progress, with women increasingly occupying roles that were traditionally male-dominated.

Within the National Pathways Program, women coaches now make up 40% of the coaching cohort, reflecting a concerted effort to support and empower female coaches through professional development programs like the AIS' Elevate Coach Program.

The 2023 Cadet World Championships marked a milestone with equal representation of men and women in National Team support staff roles, signaling a commitment to inclusive leadership structures.

The growing influence of women extends beyond coaching to officiating, with 35% of Australian referees participating in national and international competitions being women. Moreover, women constitute 36% of accredited Australian Taekwondo coaches, further exemplifying their increasing presence and impact within the sport and martial art.

Recognising the importance of female representation, the Australian Taekwondo Board is mandated to uphold a minimum of 40% female representation in accordance with its Constitution. These efforts are reflected in the demographic makeup of Australian Taekwondo, where women account for almost 40% of competition members.

In a poignant demonstration of solidarity and support, Australian Taekwondo, in collaboration with the Australian government and the Oceania Taekwondo Union, facilitated the safe transfer of eight taekwondo athletes fleeing Afghanistan in 2021. This act underscores our commitment to inclusivity, compassion, and standing up for what is right on a global scale.

These achievements, as well as others, were formally recognised by World Taekwondo in 2023, when Australian Taekwondo was crowned the leading Member National Association in diversity, equity and inclusion at the World Taekwondo 2023 Gala Awards in Manchester.

We extend our gratitude to our community for championing gender equity and collaborating with us to empower more women and girls to pursue leadership roles in Taekwondo, and the steadfast leaders whose mentorship and inspiration have paved the way for others.

To learn more about leadership for women in sport, please visit the Australian Sports Commission’s website.

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