Gender Equality: More Work To Do

Published on November 19th, 2015

Top women sailors comment on gender equality in their sport

Olivia Price (AUS), 2012 Olympic Silver medalist:
Especially in a non-mainstream sport such as sailing, female athletes are an undervalued commodity and have very limited opportunities when it comes to furthering professional female sailors. We’re lucky in a sense that the Olympic scene has more of an equal playing field with more equal opportunities for women to compete at the highest level. The introduction of the 49erFX for females and the mixed crew Nacra 17 multihull has shown to the sailing world that females are able to sail and race high performance fast boats, just as men can.

Jo Aleh (NZL), 2012 Olympic gold medallist:
I know in sailing how uneven the opportunities are in the sport for successful female sailors as opposed to men. Even as an Olympic Gold medallist, there are no real opportunities that come along, whereas men with lesser results are quickly snapped up into America’s Cup teams, or the professional circuit. There are always some physicality factors, such as strength and weight, but there are always also roles on a boat that don’t require those aspects, and yet even there, women are never considered as equal to men.

Katie Spithill (AUS), Women’s Match Racing:
Some people are still close minded about females in sport, but as athletes we are slowly changing the ways and hopefully paving a way for a bright future for gender equality in sport. There is definitely some jobs specific to a sailing role where muscle and strength is required, but a lot of times the role that is required can be done just as well by a male or female, it is a mindset that is stopping it. Team SCA and their recent podium places in the Volvo Ocean Race is a great example of the females competing and performing in a male dominated race.

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