There will be more female technical officials involved in officiating the sport at Gold Coast 2018 than any multi-sport event in history ©Netball Australia

Basketball, hockey and swimming will boast at least 50 per cent female technical officials for the first time at next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, it was revealed today. 

The three sports are viewed as leading a drive for gender parity among officials, with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) claiming the upcoming edition of the Games will be the most gender-equal in history.

While three sports have achieved at least 50 per cent female technical officials, the CGF have announced large increases in a number of sports.

Rugby sevens boasts the largest increase after the percentage rose from five per cent at Glasgow 2014 to 33 per cent for Gold Coast 2018.

Rhythmic gymnastics have chosen 100 per cent female technical officials.

Weightlifting boasts 43 per cent, triathlon and lawn bowls both have 42 per cent, and badminton 41 per cent.

The number of men officiating in diving competitions has risen from 28 per cent to 41 per cent and netball has shown an increase from 21 to 28 per cent.

The CGF believe the increases have been part of their Gender Equality Strategy, but claim long-term partnerships are required to ensure the continued development of female technical official, particularly in smaller nations and territories.

"Across the Commonwealth Sports Movement, there is a fundamental responsibility and exciting opportunity to redress the imbalances for women and girls in sport, leadership and society as a whole," said Louise Martin, CGF President.

"I thank and congratulate our committed partners at FIBA, FIH and FINA who are leading the way to ensure a level-playing field for women technical officials at Gold Coast 2018.

"The CGF is also thrilled that so many other sports have made such positive strides to ensure that more women than ever before preside over sports officiating and judging at the Commonwealth Games."

CGF President Louise Martin has hailed the increase in the number of female technical officials for the Games ©Getty Images
CGF President Louise Martin has hailed the increase in the number of female technical officials for the Games ©Getty Images

The CGF will aim to further support the boosting the involvement of women in sport by holding an internship programme for Gold Coast 2018.

The Women Coaching Internship Programme will allow Commonwealth Games Associations, in partnership with one of their national sports organisations, to integrate an aspiring female coach in their delegation for the Games.

As part of the programme, the CGF have reserved 20 quota places and will provide travel grants to allow the selected coaches to participate.

It is hoped the initiative will build women’s coaching capacity across the Commonwealth, which would also boost athletes development in the future.

"The Women’s Coaching Internship Programme is an essential component of the Gender Equality Strategy that the CGF Executive Board approved in 2016 during the Commonwealth’s year of celebrating and recognising inclusivity," CGF chief executive David Grevemberg said. 

"Sport has made inroads in recent years with the expansion of opportunities for women in sport, but a representation-based approach is not enough; and that is why the Commonwealth Sport Movement is leading the way in properly and actively engaging women in all aspects of sport Commonwealth-wide.

"The CGF will continue to develop and implement positive and bold new initiatives that create a level playing field for girls and women in sport."

Gold Coast 2018 will be the first multi-sport event to offer an equal number of medals for men and women, with 133 events for both sexes.

There will also be nine mixed and open events during the Games.

It followed the CGF approving the addition of seven additional women’s event categories for the Games, due to take place from April 4 to 15.

Gold Coast 2018 will feature an equal number of medal events for men and women ©Getty Images
Gold Coast 2018 will feature an equal number of medal events for men and women ©Getty Images

Mark Peters, Gold Coast 2018 chief executive, has expressed his hope the Games proves the launchpad for future events to follow their lead.

"Gold Coast 2018 will be a games of many firsts including for the first time offering equal medals for women and men," he said.

"We hope that the work undertaken as part of our planning for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games builds momentum globally and we see future events follow suit.

"While we believe these changes are well overdue,  we are still proud that it will be Gold Coast 2018 that helps reshape female recognition in sport."

The CGF have also revealed their strategy also supports and influences the participation and representation of women across broadcast and media, marketing initiatives, volunteering and governance at Gold Coast 2018 and beyond.