To add women's 50KM race walk to he London 2017 schedule was broadly-based on IAAF wish to ensure gender equality on the field of play.
“IAAF Council’s decision to create a new 50km race walk competition for women with separate results and prize money at the World Championships in London follows the 2016 IAAF Race Walking Team Championships in Rome, where one female athlete from the USA joined her four male teammates,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “
“But we must acknowledge this has been a last-minute decision based upon the request of a small group of athletes,”
“Therefore, to ensure the long-term credibility of the World Championships, we will follow the recommendation of the Race Walking Committee and assess the development of the event to determine whether there are sufficient numbers of athletes and countries legitimately interested.” added Coe.
The first time women competed in race walk at IAAF World Athletics Championships was in 1999 in Seville when the female 20km race walk was added to the program. The men on the other hand was competing in the 20km and the 50km race walk at World Athletics championships since Helsinki World Championships in 1983 .