I have tried but the duct tape has gotta come off! First came the revelations surrounding Saville and his cronies, then Stuart Hall attempted to wriggle out of abuse charges with a few low tactics including bribes and finding a barrister who felt the age of consent should be lowered to 13, so he would be innocent! Just as we were praying this level of institutional exploitation was a 1970‘s phenomenon enter John Inverdale and his offensive comments about Marion Bartoli after the ladies Wimbledon final and now we are expected to simply accept that the British Open Golf Championship, teed off at a male only golf resort, Muirfield. Am I alone in my disbelief, fury and despair that this level of sexism is still alive and kicking in 2013?
So why are the women in sport silent? I am not a keen sports enthusiast but even I am angry about the way women are completely marginalised, patronised and often ignored in the sports arena.
This week, The Sun, bless em! Invited several prominent women in sport to write an article on this sexism. Clare Balding, Gabby Logan, Judy Murray and Virginia Wade were amongst some of the women that said no thanks. In fact, The Sun could not find one women other than an MP to comment, Marie Miller, the Minister for culture, media, sport and women. A questionable job title in anyone’s book!
Why the silence ladies?
Are these women afraid of a backlash? Or are they simply trying to protect their delicate positions by becoming ‘one of the lads’. If they spoke up are they worried about losing their jobs and/or lucrative contracts? Well ladies, I will say what you feel you cannot or will not say…..
We are living in the 21st century. Equality at a basic level should be in the bag. Male only sports venues – are you kidding me? If this was a venue that excluded gay people or asians would we as a nation accept this too? I think not, there would be public outrage. We are not even a minority group, we represent 51% of the UK population!
Do you think a male, top executive in corporate UK would get away with making derogative, sexist remarks about a female colleague, in public and not be reprimanded for gross misconduct or in many cases sacked?
Do not tell me the battle is won. Don’t tell me it is OK because Sky Sports presenters are all pretty dolls; don’t tell me it’s not a big deal because women don’t really like sport anyway and don’t even suggest I am over reacting and it is all harmless fun. Our complicitness is putting us in reverse. We need to stay awake, alive to the cause and use our collective voice. There has never been a more important time to unite and Sisterhood needs to be back on the agenda if not for us, then for the next generation. If the women before us worked tirelessly to make it possible for us to sit around the top table the very least we can do is open our mouths when we get there!
So what do I want?
Inverdale needs to be sacked.
Someone needs to be answerable for Muirfield.
And women at the top in sport need to start talking.
Breath Jane, breath!