Organisers boost number of women on board of Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee CEO Toshiro Muto (L) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Seiko Hashimoto speak to media after video conference with IOC executive board, on 24 February 2021
Toshiro Muto (left) and Seiko Hashimoto said they wanted to take swift action over the promotion of gender equality

The Tokyo Olympic Games organising committee is set to add 12 new female directors to its executive board, the move comes weeks after long-time president Yoshiro Mori was forced to quit for making sexist remarks.

His female replacement, Seiko Hashimoto, aims to have women make up 40% of the board members. The changes just five months before the games begin, come after public outrage over Mr Mori’s complaint that women talked too much in meetings. The committee’s chief executive, Toshiro Muto, said on Tuesday the group planned to add 12 new female directors to its board, raising the ratio of women to 42%.

“It is possible to add 12 more members, so we decided to add 12 women to the board of directors.” During a meeting of the executive board, the organisers agreed to a rule change allowing a maximum of 45 members, up from the current 35. “We already have seven female directors, so 19 out of 45 will be female directors (after planned addition of new members). Based on the calculation, women will account for 42% of the board members,” Mr Muto said Ms Hashimoto said the new members would be announced after being approved by committee members on Wednesday. “Regarding promoting the gender equality, I believe that it is necessary to take swift action and provide solid results in order to rebuild trust in the organising committee,” the seven-time Olympian said.

Mr Mori had previously commented that should the number of female board members increase, they would have to “make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying”. He later apologised for his “inappropriate statement” and added that the priority was to make sure the Olympics were held in July. The Summer Olympics will begin on 23 July, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic.

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