To commemorate International Women’s Day, “Offsiders” a weekly sports program on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), pulled together an all-women panel to discuss the news in women’s teams and our status in sport. Simon called to me from the other room that someone had observed that “difficult men are tolerated better than difficult women.”
Thinking about that for 2 seconds led me to reply that it’s more that behaviours deemed “difficult” in women are not deemed difficult in men. My (well-trained) daughter asked “like what?” Like having an opinion. Like arguing. Like objecting to being interrupted. Like demanding, yes we’re talking about the present day, the right to wear trousers instead of a skirt or dress. (We’re talking to you, McKinnon Secondary College.) Like demanding a raise and being paid the same as men doing the same work. Like having boundaries and saying “No.” Or Yes.
In Australia, these qualities lead women to be referred to as ‘stroppy’ and even ‘bolshie,” from the word — you guessed it — “Bolshevik.”
Abby’s own sport, Ultimate Frisbee, while not being broadcast on television at all in Australia, is more friendly to women altogether with the inclusion of men and women mixed teams all the way through elite tournaments. And I’ll take this opportunity to mention that our favourite female athlete has been selected for Australia’s team in the World Junion Ultimate Championships in Sweden this July.
Women’s sport in Australia has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last few years with a growing number of women’s team sports broadcast on network television. Is this the case where you are?
Put your hands up, my ‘bolshie’ comrades. What do you say?