Nations with the Highest Percentage of Women’s Olympic Medals

So which nation has the most important female athletes? No, we don’t mean which nation’s women have won the most medals, that would be the United States, as it is for the men. But which nations’ women have won the highest percentage of the medals for their country?

There are actually 5 countries where all of their medals have been won by women: Bahrain, Costa Rica, Montenegro, Mozambique, and Zimbabwer. Of those, Zimbabwe has won the most medals with only 8. This 100%-er list follows:

NOC Gold Medals GW MW %G %TM
Zimbabwe 3 8 3 8 100.0% 100.0%
Costa Rica 1 4 1 4 100.0% 100.0%
Mozambique 1 2 1 2 100.0% 100.0%
Bahrain 0 1 0 1 —– 100.0%
Montenegro 0 1 0 1 —– 100.0%

But this seems a bit of a specious argument, with so few overall medals won. Let’s look only at the nations that won 100 or more medals overall (both men, women, and mixed), and see how their women did. Here is that list:

NOC Gold Medals GW MW %G %TM
China 213 526 120 303 56.3% 57.6%
Romania 88 302 58 153 65.9% 50.7%
The Ukraine 35 122 18 59 51.4% 48.4%
German Demo. Rep. 192 519 94 241 49.0% 46.4%
Russia 183 528 72 218 39.3% 41.3%
The Netherlands 115 377 52 151 45.2% 40.1%
Australia 144 485 58 189 40.3% 39.0%
Unified Team 54 135 16 52 29.6% 38.5%
Canada 121 443 46 166 38.0% 37.5%
Korea (South) 107 296 45 103 42.1% 34.8%
Germany 288 915 88 300 30.6% 32.8%
Spain 38 133 9 38 23.7% 28.6%
Austria 79 307 21 87 26.6% 28.3%
Soviet Union 473 1204 122 331 25.8% 27.5%
Bulgaria 52 220 12 59 23.1% 26.8%
United States 1071 2682 277 701 25.9% 26.1%
Fed. Rep. Germany 67 243 18 63 26.9% 25.9%
Cuba 71 202 12 49 16.9% 24.3%
Japan 140 443 28 102 20.0% 23.0%
Poland 70 291 12 65 17.1% 22.3%
Hungary 167 480 37 102 22.2% 21.3%
Great Britain 246 805 43 164 17.5% 20.4%
Brazil 23 108 5 22 21.7% 20.4%
Czechoslovakia 51 168 13 33 25.5% 19.6%
New Zealand 42 101 9 19 21.4% 18.8%
Italy 236 664 37 115 15.7% 17.3%
Denmark 43 179 9 30 20.9% 16.8%
France 235 789 37 132 15.7% 16.7%
Greece 30 110 4 18 13.3% 16.4%
Norway 173 476 24 77 13.9% 16.2%
Switzerland 97 323 18 49 18.6% 15.2%
Sweden 192 626 22 77 11.5% 12.3%
Finland 143 463 12 50 8.4% 10.8%
Belgium 39 149 3 16 7.7% 10.7%

China and Romania are the only two nations where their women have won more than 50% of their nations medals and gold medals. Romania is led by their female gymnasts and rowers, while China’s female divers, gymnasts, and weightlifters have won a large percentage of their medals. Romanian women have won an astounding 65.9% of their nations gold medals. And in the era of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), there were fewer women’s medals available, so their percentages in the high 40s are also impressive, although we do know there were, shall we say, some problems with a few of those.

At the other end of the spectrum, Belgium and Finland bring up the rear, with only about 11% of medals won by women, and about 8% of gold medals won, by far the worst numbers in this subset in both categories.

Overall, women have won about 27.5% of medals and gold medals awarded at the Olympics. So the former Soviet Union is the closest to the median nation, although when it existed, the percentage of women’s medals was likely slightly lower. The United States is also pretty close to the median.

If we look at the other end of the spectrum, we get the following list of nations whose women have never won a medal or gold medal at the Olympics, although their men have won both:

NOC Gold Medals
Iran 15 60
Egypt 7 25
Trinidad & Tobago 2 18
Mixed Team 6 17
Pakistan 3 10
Uruguay 2 10
Uganda 2 7
Dominican Republic 3 6
Luxembourg 2 5
Panama 1 3
Ecuador 1 2
Surinam 1 2
Burundi 1 1
Grenada 1 1
United Arab Emirates 1 1

There are also 36 nations which won Olympic medals, but no golds, and none won by a woman. The two nations with the most medals in this category are The Philippines, with 9 medals, and Puerto Rico, with 8.

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