Immediate Release: Nov 25, 2009


Olympic sponsors asked
to take a stand on discrimination against women

In a letter sent
last week, COPE councilors David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth, called on Olympic
sponsors to pressure the IOC to allow women ski jumpers to compete in the 2010
Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

The letter reads, “While the court
recognized that women are being discriminated against, it ruled that the
responsibility for eliminating that discrimination lies with the International
Olympic Committee (IOC).” It is the COPE councillors’ hope that – while the
courts might not be able to enforce the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
– corporate sponsors might be able to leaverage their power to pressure the IOC.

Last week, the letter was sent to worldwide Olympic sponsors (which
include Coca Cola and Visa) and national Olympic sponsors (which include The
Hudsons Bay Company and Petro Canada). The letter is also being sent to Olympic
supporters and suppliers (which include media sponsors and Air Canada) this
week.

The entire letter is copied below. As of today, none of the CEO’s
have responded.

— 30

Information: Rachel Marcuse, COPE 604-312-9057,
rachel@cope.bc.ca

Dear Olympic sponsors,

As you are likely
aware, 14 elite international female ski jumpers have gone to court in British
Columbia requesting that female ski jumpers be allowed to compete in the 2010
Winter Olympics. Justice Fenlon, who made the British Columbia Supreme Court
ruling, acknowledged that prohibiting female jumpers is a violation of Canadian
law, specifically Sections 32 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. While the court recognized that women are being discriminated against,
it ruled that the responsibility for eliminating that discrimination lies with
the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Vanoc and the City of
Vancouver have both endorsed female ski jumpers’ call for equal participation in
the 2010 Olympics. Vanoc has also stated that if instructed to include the
women’s participation in the upcoming Olympics, it would do so.

We ask
you to approach the IOC to request that women be allowed to participate as
equals in all Olympic events. As a corporate sponsor committed to excellence,
you may be interested to know that the current jump record for the small hill at
the Whistler Olympic facility is held by a woman.We request that you act quickly
to help redress this discrimination, which contravenes United Nations policies,
Canadian law and City of Vancouver practices by discriminating against women —
who make up over 50 per cent of your consumer base.

We urge you to
communicate forthrightly with the IOC and make clear that you cannot support
discrimination against women under your corporate
sponsorship.

Sincerely,

David Cadman and Ellen
Woodsworth

Vancouver city councillors

Olympic sponsors asked to take a stand on discrimination against women

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