By 2010, only three countries had never sent female athletes to the Games: Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi Arabia and Qatar had been competing regularly with all-male teams. In 2010, the International Olympic Committee announced it would "press" these countries to enable and facilitate the participation of women for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Anita DeFrantz, chair of the IOC's Women and Sports Commission, suggested that countries be barred if they prevented women from competing.
This article portrays the gradual inclusion of women in the olympics. The London 2012 summer olympics was "the first time all sports [were] open to women and all national teams [included] female athletes—Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had never sent women before." From an article featured in The Economist magazine on August 4, 2012
London 2012: was this the women's Olympics? (G) Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei's only female competitor (in a team of three) finished outside the official qualifying time for the women's 400m, but received special dispensation to compete. Saudi Arabia has put forward two women to compete: 16-year-old Wojdan Shaherkani in the judo and 19-year-old Sarah Attar in the women's 800 metres. One third of the Qatar 12-strong team are women, competing in shooting, athletics, swimming and table tennis.
One of the many records broken during the 2012 Olympic Summer Games was the number of female athletes participating from the conservative Islamic nations of Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia only allowed the women to compete after the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, threatened to bar the whole team unless women were included. The controversy over the Saudi athletes is just one of the many ways in which women athletes and gender issues have come into focus during this…