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More Women in Key Broadcast Roles at Paris 2024

Ensuring gender-balanced coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is one of the objectives of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). As the permanent host broadcaster for the Games, producing the live television, radio and digital coverage of the event, OBS is committed to providing fair and balanced storytelling for all athletes. At the Olympic Games Paris 2024, this commitment will be taken one step further behind the scenes, with a large increase in the number of female staff in key broadcast roles.

“Recognising the gender gap found across various broadcast roles, OBS is determined to make a change and set an example for the industry at large,” said Yiannis Exarchos, Chief Executive Officer of OBS. “By empowering women with the skills and experiences needed to thrive in production, editorial or technical roles, we hope to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse broadcast environment in sport.”

Ahead of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, OBS has been hiring more female staff in both operational and managerial broadcast positions, including:

  • Approximately 35 female commentators will be hired by Games time (out of roughly 92 total positions), raising the percentage of female commentators to nearly 40 per cent at Paris 2024. This represents a nearly 80 per cent increase compared to Tokyo 2020 and a more than 200 per cent increase from Rio 2016.
  • Two-thirds of the 42 OBS Broadcast Venue Manager positions will be occupied by women.
  • The number of senior staff running the Broadcast Operations Centre in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) is set to be a 50/50 split between men and women (13 positions overall).
  • The number of women in the venue production teams will also be increased, with an emphasis on roles that produce images, with the hopes that this will lead to more equal portrayal between male and female athletes at the Games.

In order to further raise awareness and call for gender-equal and fair representation of athletes across all forms of media and communication, OBS contributed to the Portrayal Guidelines of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by sharing its broadcast expertise. The guidelines aim to help broadcasters and all communicators promote balanced coverage and fair portrayal of sportspeople in all their diversity.

Training the Next Generation of Broadcasters

OBS is also ensuring that the next generation of talent in the media industry is gender balanced. Several training programmes have been put in place to ensure women are given an equal opportunity to develop their broadcast skills.

In 2023, OBS established a unique camera training programme called “Framing the Future”, with the overarching aim of bringing more women into the operational side of the broadcasting industry. This programme took place in Paris and trained more than 70 aspiring female camera operators, covering essential aspects of camera operation, including lighting, audio, framing and focus. Freelance roles at Paris 2024 will be offered to the top trainees from the course, providing solid experience and career advancement.

Another focus of OBS is to offer athletes, both active and retired, experience in commentary and broadcasting. “Olympic Commentary Training” was developed to equip Olympians and Paralympians with practical commentary skills, allowing athletes to use their expertise in sport to move from on-screen to behind the scenes at the Games.

The first training sessions were joined by 67 participants, including 46 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. From this group, 19 athletes – 16 women and 3 men – went on to the in-person training held in the second half of 2023. This programme will allow a minimum of 12 athletes, a large percentage of whom will be female, to be hired as part of the commentary team for Paris 2024.

The “Broadcast Training Programme” is yet another OBS programme that has been helping to inspire new generations of broadcast professionals around the world for more than three decades. Through a series of workshops and online resources in a variety of broadcast-related roles, the programme provides local university students with the skills needed to work in paid positions at the Games – alongside the host broadcasting team. For Paris 2024, 57 per cent of the students selected are women.

Gender-Balanced Storytelling

With the ultimate aim of achieving gender parity in the coverage of both live and non-live content on Olympics.com, a real focus has been placed on amplifying women’s voices and stories. Currently, global content on Olympics.com consists of 36 per cent of stories exclusively about women, 33 per cent about men, with 31 per cent mixed.

“As we approach Paris 2024, it is more important than ever that we amplify the female voice to ensure that we have gender equality in our storytelling,” says Mary Byrne, Editor in Chief, Olympics.com. “In doing this, not only do we allow athletes to thrive on a level playing field when competing at the Games, but we also give fans at home the opportunity to have a diverse, representative group of role models to look up to.”

In 2023, the Olympics.com web and app platforms were visited by more than 115 million unique users. Olympics.com, which is also the digital host of the official Paris Games-time web and app, is expecting to reach more than 200 million unique users, resulting in the strongest digital Olympics ever.

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