Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When women in sport met the Web Summit

Dubliner Emily Glen spoke at the Web Summit about women in sport recently. Her Twitter comments on feedback really made me smile. In a grim the-world-is-so-sexist-it-doesn't-even-know kind of smile.

For those you might not know the Web Summit is a rather large gathering of tech-heads in Dublin, and when I say large I mean more than 20,000 attendees over a few days of madness.

The tech-world is generally so far removed from being female-friendly that it's just not funny. One of the companies at this year's event sold bags emblazoned with: 'I don't put my sextapes on the Cloud.' Bit of a nasty reference there to women who are in this company's view stupid enough to trust the security on their Cloud services. (from Colin McGovern's Twitter)

But somehow Glen got in with an impressive speech.

It begins like this:  "My name is Emily Glen.  I am an amateur runner, recently completed my second marathon. I’m a sports fan and general sports enthusiast. I write about sport and social issues on the world’s least influential blog. I also happen to be a woman.

I wouldn’t have been able to introduce myself in this way 50 years ago. For a lot of reasons, chief among them I wouldn’t have been able to allowed to run a marathon 50 years ago. 50 years ago, we as sports fans wouldn’t have been able to cheer on Jess Ennis – Hill in the Olympics, the Irish Women’s rugby team as they took on New Zealand this summer, or Caroline Wozinack as she completed the New York Marathon on Sunday - because 50 years ago women weren’t allowed to compete to these standards."

You can read the rest on her blog  For The Long Run

But what caught my eye was her tweet that so many people were baffled women in sport could be a problem.  People asked her what she was going to talk about?
These are the people who see those headline figures Glen references and think that means everything is OK So it's good to see someone speaking at this type of event and raising those questions.

We talk about that invisibility bug on this blog all the time. And the more it gets talked about in other fourms, the more likely it is that at some point in time being healthy and strong will be seen as normal for girls - just like it is for boys today.


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