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The International Skating Union has organised the World All-Round Speed Skating Championships for Women since 1936. Unofficial championships were held in the years 1933–1935.
- In the years 1933–1935, three distances were skated: 500 m, 1000 m and 1500 m.
- In the years 1936–1955, four distances were skated: 500 m, 1000 m, 3000 m and 5000 m (the old combination).
- In the years 1956–1982, four distances were skated: 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m and 3000 m (the mini combination).
- Since 1983, four distances are skated: 500 m, 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m (the small combination).
Ranking systems used
- Since 1933, the samalog system has been in use.
- Gunda Niemann of East Germany won a total of 8 world championship titles, three consecutive in 1991, 1992, and 1993, and another five consecutive titles in 1995-1999.
- Karin Enke of East Germany (1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988) and Ireen Wüst of The Netherlands (2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) each have a total of five world championships.
Source: Schaatsstatistieken.nl 
All-time medal count
- Only official tournaments are taken into account