The International Judo Federation (IJF) created its Gender Equity Commission in November 2013, and it was restructured in 2018. 

Britain's Lisa Allan is the current director of the Commission. She was the competition manager at London 2012 and now fulfils the same role with the IJF.


Commission members

  • Lisa Allan - IJF events director
  • Rozalia-Ibloya Biro - member of the Romanian and European Parliaments
  • Kate Corkery - Australian Judo President
  • Sanda Corak - Croatian Judo President
  • Larisa Kiss - IJF relations manager
  • Estony Pridgeon - African Judo Union general secretary
  • Jean-Luc Rouge - IJF general secretary, former world champion
  • Salima Dziri-Souakri - advisor to the Algerian Minister of Youth and Sports, goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Fund for Children's Rights/UNICEF
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


IJF Gender Equity Strategy

The Commission has published its Gender Equity Strategy, which outlines the IJF's priorities for advancing gender equality across judo. Its vision is a community which is inclusive, respectful, fair and safe for people of all genders.

It is hoped that gender equality will gradually be achieved by supporting the growth of women's judo all over the world. 

Key aims include increasing the presence of women in judo leadership positions, as well as encouraging more female coaches, referees and technical officials.

Work will take place to prevent harassment and abuse, and every year the IJF will award a number of full scholarships to women for the Academy Undergraduate Judo Management Course.

The Commission works closely with other IJF Commissions, national federations and continental unions.


In 2018, the IJF held its first Gender Equity Conference in Baku in Azerbaijan, where the theme was "Together We Are Stronger". 

The following year, the second conference was held before the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo. 

IJF President Marius Vizer signed the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration, an international treaty supporting full gender equity in sport.

IJF President Marius Vizer signed the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration in 2019 ©IJF
IJF President Marius Vizer signed the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration in 2019 ©IJF


Majlinda Kelmendi statue

The IJF commissioned and paid for a statue of Kosovo's judo star Majlinda Kelmendi. At Rio 2016, Kelmendi made history when she won her country's first-ever Olympic medal, and to top it all off it was gold. 

She topped the podium in the 52 kilograms class with her statue now standing in Peja, in the park where she played as a child and close to the club where she started out in judo and continues to train.

Kelmendi said she was "very happy that she can be an inspiration for the young generation of her country" when the bronze statue was unveiled in February 2020.

It was created by New York's Gillie and Marc Statues for Equality, which works to improve gender equality in public art while recognising women's contributions to society.

Fewer than four per cent of statues in the world are thought to be female.

The IJF paid for a statue of Majlinda Kelmendi, which is on display in Kosovo ©Getty Images
The IJF paid for a statue of Majlinda Kelmendi, which is on display in Kosovo ©Getty Images


IOC Women and Sport Awards 2020

In 2020, Commission member Salima Souakri was named as the winner for Africa at the International Olympic Committee's Women and Sport Awards. 

The Algerian was recognised for her "remarkable contribution to the development, encouragement and reinforcement of women's and girls' participation in sport".

Souakri is a four-time Olympian and was the first Algerian and Arab woman to compete in judo at the Games after featuring at Atlanta 1996.

The Commission announced that it was "extremely proud" of Souakri's accolade.

She is now secretary of state to Algeria's Minister of Youth and Sports and she is also the first woman from the country to be named as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.


Women's World Judo Championships

The first standalone Women's World Judo Championships was held in 1980 in New York City. In 2020, the IJF celebrated the 40-year anniversary of this historical event.

Two online panel discussions were held to mark the occasion, which were viewed by 15,000 people. 

Judoka who took part in 1980 were among those to take part.

Rusty Kanokogi, known as the "mother of women's judo", pioneered the Women's World Judo Championships with the first edition taking place at Madison Square Garden.

She sponsored the event through the mortgage of her own home.

In 1987, the women's and men's World Championships were combined into one event.

The first Women's World Judo Championships took place in New York in 1980 ©IJF
The first Women's World Judo Championships took place in New York in 1980 ©IJF


United Nations framework

The Commission signed-up to the United Nations Women's Sport for Generation Equality Framework on December 3, 2020.

Judo is now looking forward to the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021, where the sport will be gender-balanced for the first time.

This means the same number of male and female judoka, while an inaugural mixed team event will also be held.