Two teenagers on opposite sides of the world reveal how they’ve made a stand against inequality in sport.
Below is an extract from 13-year-old Aussie surfer Olive Bowers in a letter written to the editor of surfer’s bible Tracks magazine.
“I clicked on your web page titled ‘Girls’ hoping I might find some women surfers and what they were up to, but it entered into pages and pages of semi-naked, non-surfing girls… I urge you to give much more coverage to the exciting women surfers out there, not just scantily clad women (who may be great on the waves, but we’ll never know).”
An extract from a letter written to Jo Gunston, publisher of Sports Liberated, when she was editor of a previous women’s sport magazine, from 14-year-old English footballer, Ruth Fox.
“Just from reading the quote on the first page, ‘We’re hoping that one day soon when someone says, ‘You play like a girl’, the response will be, ‘Thank you’,’ is a perfect way of summing up our hopes for women’s sport. I have had people, many times, make fun of me for playing football or saying ‘don’t be such a girl’ or ‘girls can’t play football’.”
What’s even better than these two voicing their opinions is that they know the power they can wield too. Olive signed off her letter with, “My posse of female surfers and I are going to spread the word and refuse to purchase or promote Tracks magazine”. Yeah!
Ruth, meanwhile, on realising her new school didn’t have a football team, enlisted the help of a teacher and set up the school’s first ever girls team, which she is proud to captain.
Knowing their worth and having the confidence to speak out, isn’t this the sort of self-confidence gleaned from participation in sport, the very reason why we need to hear more about the stories of women and girls in sport?
By Jo Gunston