While countries all over the world strive for gender equality, all steps- big and small are being taken to give equal opportunities to women in all fields and sectors. Finally acknowledging the significance of taking appropriate steps in this direction, for the first time in history, the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race for men and women was organized on the same day.
Even though the women edition of the race was introduced in 1927, in was only after a troublesome history, which involved debates over appropriate costume for the participating women, among other things; that women received the same amount of praise and encouragement as the men’s team. The 4.2-mile race on the Thames was eventually won by the Oxford team.
Anastasia Chitty, President of the Oxford University women’s boat club, who is also a world junior medallist, told the Guardian, “I never dreamed of being in the boat race because it was never an option. We’d go down to the river and watch Oxford and Cambridge battle it out, it was an impressive sporting feat, the race was exciting, but I could never stand there and say, ‘I want to do that.’ It wasn’t an option for girls. Knowing that this year there will be as many young girls as boys watching the race and everyone can dream of being in it is really special.”
The race was held at the Tideway course that had previously been reserved only for men and was witnessed by 250,000 people. The race was also televised for the first time this year and received generous funding from Newton Investment Management, driven by its chief executive, Helena Morrissey. This apart from being a great event, also marked the progress we have made in trying to achieve equality for women in sports.
[Featured Picture Courtesy: Makers.com]
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