Runners prepare to set off on an annual 10k race for women founded by Moroccan gold medal winner Nawal El Moutawakel - Alfredo Caliz | Panos Pictures
This photograph shows female runners competing in a 10k race in Casablanca organised by the Courir Pour La Vie (Run For Life) project. The project, which is supported by Moroccan athlete Nawal El Moutawakel, helps young women increase their confidence and independence and fight against gender inequality.
Nawal El Moutawakel became the first African woman and the first Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the 400-metre hurdles in 1984.
Women have made history again this year: this is the first Olympics in which all of the more than 200 participating countries have sent female athletes to compete. In fact, it is being called the ‘Women’s Games’.
Here are some facts from the competition:
- Women are competing in all 26 sports with female boxers making their debuts
- Around 45 per cent of the 10,500 competitors are women and the U.S. and Canadian teams have more women than men for the first time
- By comparison, just 20 years ago in the 1992 Barcelona Games only 25 per cent of athletes were women and there were 34 teams without females
- Today Wojdan Shaherkani became the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete in the Olympics when she walked onto the mat in the women’s judo
- Qatar and Brunei are also sending women athletes for the first time.
Panos salutes all the women athletes at London 2012.