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Women who challenged the male domination of sport

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, March 8th, 2022 - 91 comments
Categories: feminism, sport, women's sport - Tags:

@lottiehistory, a “history PhD student looking at the political silencing and shaming of women by men”, wrote this twitter thread recently on the work women have done to participate in sport. Some snippets,

here’s some female sporting heroes who challenged the male domination of sport, making way for women to have their own competitive sports, and to make playing sport and publicly exercising socially acceptable for women.

Katherine Switzer (pic above) is the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Since the marathon began in 1897 only men were allowed to enter. In 1967 Katherine was officially registered to run, but during the race, the manager ran after her and tried to grab her bib from her to end her race. Several men came to her aid, and Katherine finished the marathon. Women were not officially allowed in any US marathons until 1972. The first women’s Olympic marathon was in 1984 (men’s was 1896), won by US runner Joan Benoit.

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From the age of 9 American Bianca Valenti wanted to be a professional surfer and trained every day. There were female competitions but she soon found out it was virtually impossible for women to make a living from this because of tiny sponsorship deals for them, and no one was promoting female big-wave competitions in the media.

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She founded the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing and encouraged big-name male surfers to promote the women’s version. Something she fought for, the world’s biggest surf competition to have equal prize money for men and women happened in 2016.

In 2019 the US women’s football team (soccer) launched a legal bid to get paid as much as their male counterparts, having been told for years that they get paid less because women’s football doesn’t bring in as much money.

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The US women’s team had consistently achieved more success than the men’s team, but were paid less than half the men were. In February 2022 the women’s team settled for $24m and their sporting federation agreed to make conditions better for women but didn’t confirm equal pay.

Frenchwoman Michele Moulton (left) is the only woman to have recorded a World Rally Championship victory. Italian Leila Lombardi (right) is the only woman to have won Formula One points (both in 1970s). Women were not allowed to enter races until 1958 when Italian Maria de Filippis (1926-2016) was the first woman to enter Formula One. She paved the way for other female professional drivers. One female driver gave an anonymous interview in the 90s saying sponsors are only interested in sexy women who will provocatively pose to promote their cars, Imagethis is the only way they can earn a living in racing, and it’s still nowhere near what men earn.

People underestimate how hard it has been for women to get their own professional sports and how they still face challenges of sexism and inequality #WomensHistoryMonth #IWD #IWD2022

This is a short post to point out that women have had to worked hard and over a lng period of time to have any kind of equity in sports, and that we still don’t have it in many areas. It’s easy to forget just how long this struggle has been going on, and why women’s sport exists in the first place.

91 comments on “Women who challenged the male domination of sport ”

  1. Molly 1

    Thanks for the post, weka.

    Great thread, and interesting reading.

    Loathe to speak of the missing addendum, as I'm heading out, but I'll kick it off –

    Women's sports are under threat from inclusive policies that ignore the advantage of male bodies over women’s bodies in most competitions.

    (Of course, as the above thread shows, driving is one of those exceptions wink)

    • Gypsy 1.1

      "Women's sports are under threat from inclusive policies that ignore the advantage of male bodies over women’s bodies in most competitions."

      And a terrific addendum! Well said.

    • weka 1.2

      I liked that example because it opens the conversation for which sports don't need to be sex segregated. And which do.

      Feel free to bring the male bodied advantage issues to the table, it's completely on point. There's another whole post about how women were excluded from sport because of their bodies (as opposed to general sexist attitudes), and what we had to do to change that, and why sex segregation = fairness for women.

      • Sabine 1.2.1

        So shall we do a list of women sports that women can give up as single sex sports so as to be kind and inclusive?

        I propose Cards, Board Games, electronic gaming, and petanque.

        edit:
        In 1984 Los Angeles hosted the first Olympic women’s marathon.
        American Joan Benoit took the crown, running alone for the last 21 miles.

        It took over 80 odd years for women to be allowed to run a marathon in the olympics as a ‘women’ sport.

        it took a few years to undo all of that effort.
        https://ca.thegistsports.com/deep-dive/ed9492a9-5348-45e5-870d-12748c5197ec#:~:text=In%20the%201928%20Olympics%2C%20women,too%20weak%20for%20the%20race.

        • Molly 1.2.1.1

          Good read, thanks.

          Also kudos to whoever this is, trying to record the effect on individual women on the inclusion of biological men into their sports categories:

          http://shewon.org/index.html

          • Sabine 1.2.1.1.1

            Maybe women of today need to channel the grit, guts, and fury of our female ancestors.

            https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/forgotten-history-female-athletes-who-organized-their-own-olympics

            In the early 1900s, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) only allowed women to compete in a handful of events. Only 22 women took part in the games held in 1900. But in the early 1900s a worldwide women’s movement was demanding political inclusion, with some success. As women gained the right to vote in Europe, Russia, and the United States, behind the scenes, some IOC members were quietly moving to expand women’s participation. But IOC President Baron Pierre de Coubertin was implacable, angling for the continued marginalization of women’s sports. After the 1912 Stockholm Games, he and many of his IOC colleagues believed “an Olympiad with females would be impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and improper.”

            The 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam was the first time that doubled the number of female participants: almost 300 women took part in the Games, thanks largely to the inclusion of a small slate of women’s track and field events. However, citing medical “evidence,” the IOC ruled after the Amsterdam Games that the 800-meter run was too dangerous.

            Women were not allowed to compete in the 800-meter run until the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

            ….

            Enter Alice Milliat, a French athlete and activist whose bold actions scythed a path for women’s participation in the Games. After the exclusion of women from track and field in Antwerp, Milliat founded the Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale (FSFI) on October 31, 1921.

            At its first meeting, the group voted to establish a Women’s Olympics as an alternative to the male-centric Games. In total four Women’s Games were staged, in 1922 (Paris), 1926 (Gothenburg, Sweden), 1930 (Prague), and 1934 (London), with participants coming mostly from North America, Western Europe, and Japan.

            We will see a whole heep more of mediocre men and boys who can not cut it as males in male sports to 'identify' as women, such as the very lithe and fair maiden swimmer 'Lia ' William ' Thomas at Penn University. I mean what is a swimmer ranked 420 as a male to do when they can win as a 'women'. But don't call it colonising female sport/spaces/awards/prices/jobs etc, that would be unkind and rude.

        • alwyn 1.2.1.2

          You suggest Cards as a unisex option.

          I have no idea why but in Bridge, probably the best of the card games women do not feature at the very highest level. The top event is the Bermuda Bowl, played y 6 person teams every second year since 1950. There has only been, IIRC, a single woman who has been in a winning team. That was in 2001 when there was a winning team made up of 5 men and one woman.

          I have no idea why that should be, but it is the case.

          • Sabine 1.2.1.2.1

            Shafkopf / erln is a known card game in my region of Germany. When as a child i wanted to play i was told that 'women don't play cards' and that to learn the game i would have to hang out in bars and good girls/women don't do that either. I never learned the game.

            I have no idea why that should be, but that was the case.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Schafkopf

            and as you state above in Bridge, so in Shafkopf only one winner was female in the competitions.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tournament_Schafkopf

            Maybe it has nothing to do with 'women' but the lack of inclusion of 'women' in the games by men. Mind, these men can now include women with penises and call it inclusive and bingo, equity or something ensues.

            • alwyn 1.2.1.2.1.1

              At least at the level I played Bridge about half the players were women. As the level of the competition rose so did the percentage of men though. I just looked at the winners of the New Zealand Pairs which has been held at the National Congress each year since 1986. Of the 45 or so names that feature as winners only 3 are women. There is no segregation or pressure on women not to compete at the top level in New Zealand Bridge. At least there wasn't when I was playing which was a fair part of the period mentioned.

              It gets pretty aggressive at the top level of course, even in New Zealand. At the Bermuda Bowl level all the players would be full time professionals who do nothing else but study and play Bridge.

              And no, although I did play in the New Zealand event, I was never in the class of the winners.

              • Sabine

                I play cards, but for women to compete in Germany it involved hanging out in bars as most 'selection' games are played in pubs. So in the old days it was not really a thing for women to do – compete in competitions, playing at home at the kitchen table was allowed tho. But going to bars without a 'handler' in the form of a husband, father or brother was and in many cases still is a big no no.

                But the reason i put in cards was simply that the good game depends on two / three things. A. counting, B. strategy, C. team working. No physical strenght and ability needed.

          • weka 1.2.1.2.2

            Sexism is one of the reasons. Prejudice and institutional sexism.

            • alwyn 1.2.1.2.2.1

              Not at all. The teams who play in these events are picked by means of trials and the winners go through.

              Bridge, whether it is pairs or teams, is played and scored in such a manner that the people who are playing do as well as their play decides. It is not like gymnastics, or skating where there are human judges who may be biased.

              If you are the best cardplayer, on the day, you will win and prejudice or "institutional sexism", whatever that is, has absolutely nothing to do with it.

              Have you ever played competitive Bridge? I very much doubt it if you can make a remark like that about the game.

              • Sabine

                initially yes, it was sexist.

                Cards are games played in pubs and bars and that goes back to century. Bridge very much like the german Schafkopf were played in these environments and women were simply not admitted to these rooms.

                I mean, Britain…., and personally i would not end up at

                Up until 1982, it was perfectly legal to refuse to serve women in British pubs, which were traditionally “male environments”. Happily, this all changed in 1982, following the legal case of solicitor Tess Gill and journalist Anna Coote.

                So to play a game until very recently at least for gGermany people have selection games in pubs and public houses to get to trials, and usually the teams simply did not include women or girls, simply because women and girls could be refused service until very recently. That was the sexist part.

                I think maybe in Britain or here Bridge is better organised and not held in pubs were beer in copious amounts is sold and consumed.

                But i think and that is why i listed it as a co-ed sport on equal footing is the fact that it is such an easy sport to do. You need people, a table, some cards – not expensive and heavy or cumbersome – some food and wine et voila – rebelote. Also, petanque, i am a great fan of that sport too.

              • Tricledrown

                Alwyn typical mansplaining there is no sexism in bridge what bs.

                Women haven't had the freedoms or equivalent money to be able to compete in the first place.

                Just like in business where they are finding businesses run by women are more profitable and successful.

                Entry to sport has been and is still denied.

                I have daughters and adopted whangi daughters who love to play sport.

                Rampant sexism in cricket and soccer where resources are denied while male players get everything.

                Rugby basketball volleyball swimming are much better.

                The Soccer team one of my daughter played for was enabling bad behaviour by boys towards girls I complained it went no where the team lost their best player a girl .she was only 12 and being hit on constantly by older boys.

                Yet a 12 she was a better player than much older boys able to run rings around everyone of them.

                She lost heart because of the constant harassment and moved to a different sport.

                • alwyn

                  I neither know, nor care very much, about the other sports that you mention. I was talking about Bridge because Sabine brought it up (or at least brought up cards in general) as a sport where sex needn't matter.

                  All I was pointing out is that the best players in the card game of Bridge are predominately male and that is in spite of the fact that, in every country where I have played the game, there was no sexism apparent.

  2. SPC 2

    The 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport is being offered as both a virtual and a hybrid in-person and virtual experience. It will take place in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand and Online between 5-8 May 2022

    The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport is the world’s largest network dedicated to advancing gender equity and equality in sport, physical education and physical activity. It is fully aligned to the 17x United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    The IWG is governed by the volunteer IWG Global Executive. The current IWG Secretariat 2018 – 2022 is held by Aotearoa New Zealand. The IWG Secretariat & World Conference 2022 – 2026 quadrennial will be hosted by the United Kingdom, who will take over on 1 October 2022.

    https://iwgwomenandsport.org/#:~:text=The%208th%20IWG%20World%20Conference,between%205%2D8%20May%202022.

    • Molly 2.1

      SPC. Despite the fact that the NZ based organisation you linked to is 25 years old, I had difficulty finding their position on the inclusion of men (dependent on identity) into women's sports.

      If you could point their position out, that would be great.

      I did find that the signed the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women and Sport

      http://iwgwomenandsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Brighton-plus-Helsinki-2014-Declaration-on-Women-and-Sport.pdf

      It has the following Principles:

      B. The Principles

      1. Equity and equality in society and sport

      a. Every effort should be made by state and government to ensure that institutions and organisations responsible for sport and physical activity comply with the equality provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Declaration of Berlin (UNESCO MINEPS V) and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

      b. Equal opportunity to participate and be involved in sport and physical activity, whether for the purpose of leisure and recreation, health promotion or high performance, is the right of every woman, whatever her race, colour, language, religion, creed, sexual orientation or identity, age, marital status, ability/disability, political belief or affiliation, national or social origin.

      c. Resources, power and responsibility should be allocated fairly and without discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, but such allocation should redress any inequitable balance in the benefits available to women and men.

      Unable to determine whether they are talking about women identifying as transmen, or men identifying as transwomen.

      Facilities were equally ambiguous:

      2. Facilities Women’s and girls’ participation in sport and physical activity is influenced by the extent, variety and accessibility of facilities, especially spaces which are safe and secure. The planning, design and management of these should appropriately and equitably meet the particular needs of women and girls in the community, with special attention given to the need for child care provision, safe transport and safety during participation and performance.

      Sounds all good as far as it goes. But doesn't specify the protection of single-sex facilities. Deliberate omission?

      Using the site search for 'transwomen' or 'gender identity' resulted in no returns. Determining their position on the most impactful issue in women's sports at the moment is a lesson in patience.

      It was a Google search that provided a link to an article on their 'Insight Hub' revelant to that issue, and most likely, an indication of their stance:

      https://www.iwginsighthub.org/insight/the-inclusion-of-transwomen-in-community

      The main issues faced in engaging in this space are misinformation, a simplistic understanding of the issues, the level of aggression of the gender critical, trans-exclusionary sector and a large degree of fundamentalist bigotry.

      The productive dialogue is taking place in boardrooms but the ‘noise’ is happening on social media and this is affecting the speed of decision-making even at the highest level. This is a major disconnect.

      There is a significant gap between a connection with, and understanding of, the existing knowledge-base and the cultural perceptions of our sports thought-leaders who are often fearful of political pushback and anticipated public opprobrium.

      This a major exercise and the engagement of heroes and champions is critical.

      These exist and, once the BBMRR legislation currently before the New Zealand Parliament is determined one way or another, these people and organisations can be better engaged.

      A further challenge is confusion regarding where non-binary athletes fit in the model.

      Many of the challenges come from the calculated spread of emotive misinformation and, for those of us working in this area, this is a rabbit-hole it’s easy to get dragged into.

      The attacks on trans activists are ongoing and vicious an difficult to deal with.

      Right, that does provide some insight.

      It means that the organisation not only fails to address and discuss the issue openly on their site, it obscures it's position for fear of having to do so.

      Thanks Insight Hub on International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport's website.

      I now know that 'The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport' is a misnomer.

      • Molly 2.1.1

        (Supposed to be 'relevant' in my comment above but the typo reads well also.)

      • SPC 2.1.2

        It appears to be an international organisation based on a 4 yearly secretariat (temporarily associated with us 2018-2022).

        • Molly 2.1.2.1

          Thanks. But was really looking for their position on one of the most impactful situations to affect women's sports – inclusion of biological men.

          Do you know where they state it?

          • Molly 2.1.2.1.1

            Reading back this sounds harassing.

            Can you read it to yourself with the inquistive tone I was unable to achieve in writing?

            (Edit: Was supposed to be added to comment below. I think I’d better catch up on some missed sleep.)

  3. SPC 3

    On 8 March both the mens and womens teams of England play matches against the West Indies.

    INTERNATIONAL TEST MATCH SERIES

    ICC WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/scores-fixtures

    For some reason I cannot explain they have mixed up the times for the two games.

  4. Drowsy M. Kram 4

    Thanks Weka, your post prompted me to think on women in Chess, which led to considering diverse (less high profile?) official sports such as 'Billiard sports', Cheerleading, Flying Disc, Life Saving, Orienteering, Tug of War, Powerboating, Sumo ("Competitions are open to men and women, however, no contest between man and woman is allowed."), etc., and their diverse journeys towards inclusivity.

    The Sporting Scene (August 2, 2021 Issue)
    Hou Yifan and the Wait for Chess’s First Woman World Champion
    Still, this appears to be an incomplete explanation of the disparity at the top of the game, about which Hou is blunt. “You cannot deny it, you cannot pretend it doesn’t happen,” she told me, of the absence of women from chess’s highest echelon. For years, she has been the only one who stood a chance.

    Off topic, I lament the (imho excessive) commercialisation of sports and the enormous sums some sportspeople command these days – seems ott for what should be (first and foremost) recreational activities, but entertainment rules.

  5. Gosman 5

    Women sports as a separate entity (as opposed to women competing alongside males) exists because otherwise there would be very few (if any woman) at top levels in most sporting endevours. To encourage greater participation from females there has to be a separate women's only division. Women get more money in sports that generate more interest from a wider audience. You can see that in Netball in NZ and international Tennis. Women are unlikely to get the same interest as non-women only competitions as the males tend to be better at a physical level and thus compete at a higher level.

    • Tricledrown 5.1

      Gosman your mansplaining means are still stuck0 back in the middle ages with your thinking .

      Inspired by King Constatine who rewrote the bible because he wanted women subjugated as second class citizens.

      While Jesus said women are equal and should be as treated equals.

      Sports mainly invented to suit muscular male bodies.

      Maybe we could see how good you are at giving birth or breast feeding and Empathy you wouldn't get a start.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        I agree men should stay away from trying to give birth or from breastfeeding as women are far better suited to that task.

        Women sports is not treating women as equal. It is actually acknowledging their inferiority in most sporting endevours. If they were to be treated equally they would be playing sports in and against mixed teams.

        This is the dichotomy for those advocating equality for women's sport. You first have to acknowledge that women are generally unable to compete on equal footing with men (hence the need for separate competitions) before you can start to demand they get treated the same as their male counterparts.

      • Gosman 5.1.2

        I also agree with you that most sports were invented to suit the typical healthy young male body. However not all were. Netball was designed with female's in mind. It may have been flawed thinking behind this design in many ways but an effort was made. The trouble is that even with a sport designed for and played at a high professional/semi-professional level predominantly by women when men play the sport they tend to be better on average than female players as witnessed by the victories of the Men's Netball team over the Silver Ferns.

  6. Molly 6

    For a link to an organisation that doesn't avoid the issue, and brings discussion points to the table you can look at the resources and reports offered by the Sports Council Equality Group in the UK.

    https://equalityinsport.org/resources/index.html

    • SPC 6.1

      Presumably that will inform the UK when taking on the IWG secretariat role 2022-2026.

      • Molly 6.1.1

        What does that mean? Or, more specifically, what does that mean to you?

        What is your position of the inclusion of biological men in women's sports?

        • Molly 6.1.1.1

          @SPC.

          Reading back this sounds harassing.

          Can you read it to yourself with the inquisitive tone I was unable to achieve in writing?

        • SPC 6.1.1.2

          Merely that I presume that their 2022-2026 secretariat would be of the same society/cultural influences as the Sports Council Equality group.

          In sport the general premise is fair competition. Thus rules based, and of course no unfair advantage (such as drug use).

          • Molly 6.1.1.2.1

            I don't understand what you are saying.

            • Shanreagh 6.1.1.2.1.1

              I found the same with the material from IWG. What are they saying that needs to be so unclear. I have a vision of IWG as a human saying 'oh its about equality for women in sport' and then tapping the side of the nose to signify 'yeah right' or 'you have to be in know to get the real meaning'.

              It seems a bit coy not to mention, that I can find, the current leaders/members of a group that is currently undertaking the secretariat work and holding a conference in May in Auckland.

  7. Peter 7

    Over years I have contacted various media about the push for equality in sport. I applaud their crusade.

    Apparently equality is very important, essential. What I don't get is the only equality spoken about is gender equality. Other equality is not important.

    That is, all sports are equal.

    In her "State of the Nation: The case for investing in women's rugby" yesterday, Dana Johannsen said it takes time and continuous investment to build interest in women's sport.

    David Berri, a professor at the Southern Utah University, whose area of research includes sport and gender, said "Most of the arguments boil down to the bottom line – essentially: “Why should we invest in the women’s game when they don’t bring any money in? Let the free market dictate what the ladies get.”

    Around the middle of the 1990s someone decided that there was a commercial interest in pushing rugby league. While rugby had its hundred year history of being a foundation and focus of our media, rugby league in a sense was reborn as the 'new kid on the block.'

    How did that work out? It worked out so well that (an example I often quoted), Manu Vatuvei scratched his bum or Shaun Johnson had a 'tight hammy' and it was to the fore on the news. It took time and continuous investment to build interest.

    On the same day the women's hockey team could be playing world leaders Argentina here or tennis players could be in a Davis Cup tie in Korea with not a word about them.

    I saw a most disgusting display from a TV sports reporter getting orgasmic over a couple of nights at a 'scandal' in a sport. The sport with its thousands or participants weren't worth mentioning or getting attention on the other 362 days in the year.

    So when does a sport become important? When there's a scandal? When there's a lot of money involved? When some participants get more money than others? Only in the way it meets the commercial imperative of some media organisation?

    Of course it's too much to expect any logic past a bottom line. I remember a TV newscast last year where an item about Israel Adesanya was followed very soon after by an item about head injuries in sport, meaning the rugby codes. Extolling one sport where competitors deliberately set out to smash and kick their opponent in the head until they are senseless then condemning another where head injuries are accidental was at best bizarre.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/127911705/state-of-the-union-the-case-for-investing-in-womens-rugby

    • Molly 7.1

      The 'return on investment' argument in regards to encouraging participation is a problematic one to say the least.

      The benefits of sports engagement, physical, mental, social and in the wider community would probably show a return far in excess of what is expended. But usually we are talking about returns specifically to sports organisations or promoters.

    • Anker 7.2

      Out of interest Peter where do you stand on male bodied athletes who identify as women, competing against female atheletes

      • Peter 7.2.1

        I'm in the camp of being very happy I'm not a parent with kids involved in a sport or a sports administrator having to deal with such a situation. And being determined to not spend my life fighting battles about it.

        There is no possibility of any resolution to the situation which will leave everyone satisfied.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          There is no possibility of any resolution to the situation which will leave everyone satisfied.

          Maybe that shouldn't be the goal given the first example in the post.

          • Sabine 7.2.1.1.1

            Oh but if men are not satisfied, is anyone satisfied?

            Again, the issue is not transgenderism in sport, that issue is that trans gendered people – specifically male to female – want into women sports rather then put in the effort and time to create their own categories. It is easier for them to colonise women sports then to create their own categories/divisions. Why put in the hard work, when you can just throw about hte words transphobe, bigot and terf (just to name three) and everyone shuts up in fear and falls in line. See the swimmer from Penn University who btw, also gets to hang his lady dick out in the changing rooms. What is not to like in that if you are a ‘trans lesbian’. Like seriously.

            • Molly 7.2.1.1.1.1

              "Oh but if men are not satisfied, is anyone satisfied?"

              The eternal question. (Million's think it's "What's for tea?", but they're wrong)

              We all know the answer, though. (Not Chicken Tonight)

  8. Anker 8

    Given it’s international womens day, I am posting this article about inclusion of transgender women (male bodied atheletes in womens sport. In sports such as rugby, the risk of injury to women players is significant if trans women play. Their competitive advantage over women is significant. Given this I do wonder why trans women don’t eliminate themselves from womens sports. I mean who would want to play given these facts?

    an option would be to have an open team or male bodied people to play together

  9. Anker 9

    Interesting point about sports. Under he conversion Practices Prohibition bill, does this mean a sports administrator, who says a trans women can’t play in a womens team, could be investigated for using a conversion practice? I seem to remember Kris Faifoi in a very early interview about the bill mentioning rugby coaches……I was a bit puzzled by that. Maybe that was one of a number of intentions of the bill?

  10. Grumpy 10

    Not to mention the sport where men and women compete on totally equal terms. Also one of the toughest sports with one of the highest fatality to competitor ratios. An Olympic sport that Kiwis do extremely well in – both men and women!

    Equestrian Three Day Eventing

  11. Peter 11

    It seems unlikely that there can be conservation about women in sport where the prime issue does not become gender.

    • Molly 11.1

      Well, Peter, the analogy I'd offer is this:

      It'd be like a group of botanists congratulating themselves and each other on the success of getting a plant to grow and thrive on the inhospitable soil, while simultaneously ignoring the forest fire racing towards them.

      Can't you smell the smoke?

      • Peter 11.1.1

        If I spent my life focused on the fact there could be smoke somewhere I would've been too busy to coach athletes or organise events for them. Female and male.

        • Molly 11.1.1.1

          "…ignoring the forest fire racing towards them…"

          So, I guess you are standing with the botanists, your back to the fire having suffered covid (ie. no sense of smell) thinking about watering the plant.

          It is the deliberate avoidance of an issue that has great (if not devastating impact) on women's sports, that will allow damage to occur.

          You, of course, don't need to be concerned. You are aware there is a problem, or if you are uninformed, a potential one.

          You can seek information to determine whether this problem is a small, easily managed one, or one that could cause devastation, especially if ignored or mismanaged.

          I believe it to be the latter.

    • Shanreagh 11.2

      I love the Freudian slip of conservation instead of conversation.

      Women, in its original meaning would like nothing better than to have their right to compete against other women conserved.

      Traditionally big money & big influence abounds in males. A declaration that a man is a woman does not automatically mean the end of the big money and influence.

      If it did, and we truly had a meeting of minds that came from a change from male thinking to female thinking between natal women and transwomen, we would not have had these concerns from natal women.

      An extremely simple perhaps simplistic view.

      • Molly 11.2.1

        "A declaration that a man is a woman" … is quite simply, wrong.

        That misuse of language is one of the deliberate tactics used to derail discussion.

        "If it did, and we truly had a meeting of minds that came from a change from male thinking to female thinking between natal women and transwomen, we would not have had these concerns from natal women."

        In sports, we don't need a meeting of minds. We need empirical evidence.

        In particular, the empirical evidence that overturns the empirical evidence that created sports categories for sex, age, weight etc. in the first place.

        (And natal women are just women. Transwomen are transwomen, or men).

  12. vto 12

    fyi, surfing is very rapidly becoming a sport where women will dominate, especially younger women… is quite like gymnastics so same things apply and young females have best attributes.. i think

    having said that, the world's leading comp at Pipe in Hawaii was just won by Kelly Slater, a 50-year old male, doh.

    but watch this space

    edit: and of course, cynically, the viewership (read sponsorship) is vastly improved over older males…

    • Sabine 12.1

      Don't worry here is a fair maiden who wants to bring 'equality' to the sport of women surfers. Becuase this is were washed up males end up. In women sport.

      'The 43-year-old said if the rules were to changed she would feel included in the sport that she has given so much to."

      lol – also they are not a Transwomen, they are a 'women' with a trans experience. No, this is a Man, identifying as a women for their own mental, emotional, and sexual reasons and throw in a bit of financial gains, cause what is a 43 year old bloke who is no longer competitive in his sport to do. Compete against girls many many years younger them him.

      https://www.perthnow.com.au/lifestyle/transgender-surfer-sasha-jane-lowerson-calls-for-more-equality-in-her-sport-ng-b882054848z

      • vto 12.1.1

        I am not sure your point sabine, but I detect your strong whiff of man-hating via reference to 'washed up old men'…

        i think you need to take your concern up with manwoman himherself

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          She's referring to men at the end of their sporting careers switching to women's sports because then they're suddenly back on form. I have no idea if the surfer in question fits that description, but the point is solid in this context. It's a class issue as much as an individual one.

          • Sabine 12.1.1.1.1

            He knows that.

            But then when you can accuse a thing of men hate it just feels soooo guuud.

            • vto 12.1.1.1.1.1

              no I didn't know that, stop being paranoid

              you are very tedious in your attacks on men and me in particular over time

              maybe i start pushing back at you again

              • weka

                maybe you address the perfectly reasonable political points Sabine is making instead of making this personal.

                • vto

                  it has been personal for a very long time weka

                  and the point was addressed – taking a one-off anecdote and making it into a meme or some such lacks all credibility and indicates ulterior motive, does it not?

                  • weka

                    no, it really doesn't. Sabine has a particular style of commenting, not everyone gets it or appreciates it. But her political point is sound. There's a known phemomena of males competing as men for a career, not doing very well and coming out as a TW and shifting to women's sports and suddenly they're winning. This is not some obscure issue, and it's being discussed well beyond feminism.

                    I don't care if you think Sabine hates men (and why would it even matter if she did?). I care about what is debated. She's clarified and there's plenty of politics to focus on.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 12.1.1.1.2

            It's tough at the top. Imho, recreational sporting activities are great all the livelong day, but at the top end of competitive sport the drive to not just be better, but to be the best (fueled in some cases by ambitious coaches) – to dominate the competition – can sometimes tip over into unbalanced obsession, with all it's attendant aberrations – nobbling or assaulting the competition, doping, etc. Like many drives, e.g. the desire for self improvement, it can occasionally get out of hand.

            Since males are (on average) naturally more aggressive than females, some forms of aberrant 'sporting behaviour' tend to be more prevalent in, but not exclusive to, males. It's also possible that general sporting behaviour is improving, notwithstanding the popularity of violent combat sports.

            Trading Health Risks for Glory: A Reformulation of the Goldman Dilemma [2018]
            The Goldman dilemma presented athletes with a Faustian bargain that guaranteed winning an Olympic gold medal in their sport but resulted in certain death 5 years later.

            Living your best life is all well and good, but if 'best' doesn't equal 'happy' then it's time to change it up, always accepting that the ability to judge 'happy' can itself be problematic.

            The effects of competition outcomes on health: Evidence from the lifespans of U.S. Olympic medalists [2017]
            Whereas the life expectancies of gold and bronze medalists do not differ significantly, life expectancy of silver medalists is about 2.4 and 3.9 years less than these former, respectively. These findings are readily explainable by insights from behavioral economics, psychology, and human biology, which suggest that (perceived) dissatisfactory competition outcomes may adversely affect health. Competition outcomes that affect socioeconomic status (SES) could, therefore, play an important causal role in the positive SES-health gradient among the general population.

            Others have suggested that silver medalists have the edge, so who knows.

            Do Former Elite Athletes Live Longer? New Evidence From German Olympic Athletes and a First Model Description [2020]
            Currently, the survival rate of German Olympians is lower compared to the general population. On the contrary, it was found that Olympic success represents a linear risk for survival probability. While different types of sports do not exhibit any differences, gender and origin (FRG vs. GDR) do represent a significant risk factor. These results are combined with the current state of research to create an impact model of factors influencing the life span of elite athletes.

        • Sabine 12.1.1.2

          Of course i am man hating .Totally VTO. That can only be the only logical conclusion to em pointing out that men at 43 years of age are at the end of their sporting careers who then retire into female sports because men will do as men do.

          It must be me hating men, it could not be that his dude has no respect for women, thinks that his need/feels – specially his lady feels when he gets to wear lady stuff and gets to shower with nakid things – over rides the needs of others, and thus is ok in competing against women half his age.

          Totally VTO. Thanks for giving all the men the real quick cop out. Man Hate. lol

          • vto 12.1.1.2.1

            it is man-hating because you word your post to reflect on men in general, especially older men, rather than relegate that one-off anecdote to.. a one-off anecdote

            why don't you say something positive

            men in surfing are completely and utterly supportive of the rise of women in surfing – witness the professional body of surfing making mens and womens prize money equal a number of years ago. I see all this in the surf spots and comps around nz too.

            but yeah nah eh just stick the boot in – in typical angry man fashion

            • weka 12.1.1.2.1.1

              It's not a one off anecdote, she is talking about an issue that happens a lot and she has explained it clearly.

              Don't tell women what to say or to be positive when they talk about feminism. If you want to write a post or a comment that is positive about men, please do so (in OM today).

              Also, don't deny sexism in sports under a post about women challenging men's domination of sports, especially not on International Women's Day.

              • vto

                you know what? I am just going to bail again. I posted a very positive note about women in surfing and how it is charging along. Then I get dragged into this shit.

                it was presented as a one-off anecdote

                'dont tell womend what to say'.? yeah, whatever, check the context

                "dont deny sexism'. did nothing of the sort

                bullshit all rouind weka

                out

                • weka

                  your original comment was good. If you don't like replies, then scroll on by. You weren't dragged in. It's a political forum, there's always stuff that annoys us. Just step away. Carry on talking about the stuff you want to talk about. We all have to do this.

                  'dont tell womend what to say'.? yeah, whatever, check the context

                  You told a feminist to be nice. It's an anti-feminist trope, you will always get push back if you do that.

                  "dont deny sexism'. did nothing of the sort

                  Sabine raised an issue of how male-bodied trans people in sports are creating problems for women. You then said,

                  men in surfing are completely and utterly supportive of the rise of women in surfing – witness the professional body of surfing making mens and womens prize money equal a number of years ago. I see all this in the surf spots and comps around nz too.

                  Some men aren't. Some men are sexist and still causing problems for women. All you have to do is include acknowledgement of that and then your comment won't come across as denial of the sexism that is the context for this whole post and discussion.

                • Sabine

                  i did read your comment as positive.

                  Yet, all i did was point out that a man was demanding to be given access to that women sport you so positively spoke about.

                  You called that man hate. Never mind the 43 year old bloke who thinks that wearing a dress, lippy and female underwear thus appropriating womanhood makes him a woman. Maybe you really need to think at what stage something can be called women hate.
                  In saying that, please point to an article that shows the men who support women in surf call out this bloke for being not a good sports man but rather a selfish prick who will help destroy a women’s sport.
                  lastly a question: if a women’s team is comprised of Trans identified males only is it still a women’s team?

                • Molly

                  "I posted a very positive note about women in surfing and how it is charging along. "

                  vto. From the limited contact I have here on TS with you, this is not the benign statement you offer.

                  Your 'positive note' was deliberate bait dangled by a practiced fisherman, seeking to enter a conversation in order to be outraged. (See how I kept the coastal theme going?)

                  Most if not all, of the women posting here on TS will have/had positive meaningful relationships with men in their lives. Comments regarding the effect of men/male hierachies on women are not prefaced by the invisible word 'All'.

                  If you accepted that, then perhaps you would not be so quick to take offence. (And display a hint of misogyny that is visible).

                  Because the reality is, to have to clarify every time to protect your easily broken thin skin, is something I, for one, am not prepared to do.

                  • Sabine

                    Maybe there is just an issue with men understanding on a gut level that yes, men at the end of their careers in sport would/will/are/can appropriate womanhood in order to compete for that prize money.

                    And frankly i can appreciate that.

                    Because it is the ultimate form of cheating and it is so unsportsmanlike and unsportsmanlike. So i can see why VTO is getting upset at my comment pointing out that there are men who will do their darnest to hurt women’s sport.

                    And some men may take to upset when that is pointed out to them.

  13. weka 13

    • Sabine 13.1

      Ginger Rodgers did not say this, but still : Backwards and in high heels.

      I love these old pictures of ladies in corsets, hats, long skirts and dainty little boots do all sorts of things.

      Excellent find!

  14. Tabletennis 14

    There is also the participation of teenage girls in sport to consider. It is well know that this declines among this age group.
    As noted by Katerine Deves from -Save women’s Sport Australia -. This will have an immediate consequences for women coming through in the elite competition sports.
    If teenagers are told to be quiet and not to complain about feeling uncomfortable with a male in their dressing room, its sexism and discrimination ultimately.

    But according to the -we couldn't be bothered to talk to women-groups- Susanne Doig:

    “A self-ID process may have a low or perceived social impact on women’s rights and protection” Suzanne Doig, General Manager Policy Group Department of Internal Affairs.

    • Molly 14.1

      "“A self-ID process may have a low or perceived social impact on women’s rights and protection” Suzanne Doig, General Manager Policy Group Department of Internal Affairs."

      That would be true IF the following was correct:

      1. Single-sex spaces, places, competitions, awards, scholarships etc were confirmed as single biological sex spaces,

      2. Data collection and recording for official documentation, health, addressing biological sex based inequities, and for political planning purposes (eg. census) maintained an accurate biological sex category, while adding a gender identity one.

      3. Self-id process was set up so that it could not be utilised by those wishing to eliminate/obscure past histories for fraudulent or criminal purposes.

      Unfortunately, no politician in NZ was prepared to guarantee any of these.

      • Tabletennis 14.1.1

        "Unfortunately, no politician in NZ was prepared to guarantee any of these."

        The women’s only swim session in Christchurch needs to be read carefully. The website, at the very bottom, says ‘trans women’ and anyone who ID as a women.
        Consequently volunteers (women of course) organise at some pools a pre-booking for women-only, splitting the session in women’s only and mixed sex sessions.

        And than they advertise it with a picture of a Muslim women and her two children in the local newspaper.
        So much for a spontaneous splash in the pool for women.

        Associated Professor Holly Lawford-Smith (Melbourne University) has collated women’s experience on their daily lives, on the impact of men claiming a women’s identity, under the heading: “No conflict, they said”

  15. Tabletennis 15

    Should trans women be able to compete in female sport? (13 min)|
    Interview with ex- Marathon Runner athlete Mara Yamauchi, who feels she can speak up because she has since retired…

  16. adam 16

    Collective bargaining with the men will mean female sports stars can get paid to play the game they love. Well that's whats happen in Aussie, funny how unions are useful, and really useful when everyone in the union has a voice.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-02/aflw-collective-bargaining-professional-income-help-keep-players/12015416

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/nrlw/nrl-2021-nrlw-closing-in-on-collective-bargaining-agreement/news-story/27ccdfe23c6bc48fdacd6196dcb45f9f

    • Gosman 16.1

      They might be able to be paid more than what they get now but it is unlikely they will get anywhere near what the top male athletes get in most sports. The money will tend to follow where the highest quality is and that generally will be in the competitions where men are playing.

      • adam 16.1.1

        The market is now not sexist, dude you need to either get your head out of ann rand for five seconds. Anyone who believes markets are not manipulated at this point, are either completely naive about the world, or ideologically blinked to the point of narcissism.

        But to counter your argument if it(markets) actually followed the highest quality and the best spectical – women football would be the number one game in the world. Men's football is boring, dry and dull. The women's game is a just a better game to watch.

  17. adam 17

    Hope you enjoy this weka

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