The International Judo Federation (IJF) set up its Gender Equity Commission in November 2013. The Commission’s director is Great Britain's Lisa Allan, the competition manager at London 2012 who now fulfils the same role at the IJF.

Among the six Commissioners are Estony Pridgeon, President of the Botswana Judo Federation, and France’s Jean-Luc Rougé, general secretary of the IJF and former world champion in the under-93 kilograms division.

They are joined by Rozalia-Ibolya Biró, Croatia’s Sanda Čorak, Australia’s Kate Corkery and Hungary’s Larisa Kiss.

In August 2019, the IJF signed-up to the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration, an international treaty supporting full gender equity in sport.

They did so in Tokyo before the IJF World Championships.

On September 19, 2018, one day prior to that year’s Judo World Championships, the IJF hosted its inaugural conference on gender equity in the Hilton Hotel in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

The IJF hosted its inaugural conference on gender equity in September 2018 ©IJF
The IJF hosted its inaugural conference on gender equity in September 2018 ©IJF

The conference was chaired by Allan.

In her motivational speech, Biró, a member of the Romanian Parliament, informed the attendants of an important lesson one of her mentors once taught her: "don’t try to do what everybody does, do something that is hard, something that you need courage to do".

Čorak, President of the Croatian Judo Federation, gave some interesting feedback about an IJF survey conducted in 2017 regarding the position of women in National Judo Federations (NJFs).

IJF mailed a questionnaire to all its members with 52, or 26 per cent, of them returning a completed version.

Twenty NJFs had established a Commission on gender equality, while 30 had started activities to empower women in judo. Thirty-eight follow National Olympic Committee recommendations.

Corkery, President of the Australian Judo Federation, took to the floor as the last speaker of the day.

“We know that men and women have different strengths through thousands of years of evolution,” she said.

“We think differently."

“However, this difference in thinking is a huge opportunity.”