I am the only girl in a sports class. We have to do press-ups and the guy running the session turns to me and says, “Oh you can do the ones on your knees.” I just stare at him, disgusted, and say no.


Few of the most major instances of blatant sexism in my life: – Got into an argument that turned pretty serious because I didn’t want to wear make up at school. My father suggested I should because “I should take more pride in myself and don’t you want to look pretty?” To this day it’s made me feel weird when I put make up on even if I want to because I remember feeling like its the only thing that makes me look attractive. I love my dad and he is a good person, but it still annoys me that he doesn’t see saying stuff like this as either sexist or a problem. – At work (which was just me and the boss) a new work experience student, aged 18, comes and starts working with us. After getting to know her for a bit she explains she is bisexual with a girlfriend and we all have a nice chat about their relationship. After she leaves work that day (earlier than us as she had to stick to school hours) my boss turns to me and says “shame she’s got a girlfriend, means a guy like me could never get with her.” She is 18, he is over 50. Same boss had told me he goes to aerobics classes and stands at the back just to watch at an all female class (plus many other similar remarks). After the comments about work experience girl I’ve had enough so I tell him calmly that everything he says like that is inappropriate and as a response he tells me not to be so sensitive. He said i was overly sensitive every time I tried to counter a sexist comment, and it’s a phrase you can’t really win from – you argue and he says you’re really sensitive, you let it go and he thinks his point is proven. Lose/Lose. – Went out for the night at uni, got to the bar and went to pay for my drink I’d just ordered when a guy shoves in front of me and buys it for me. I am polite, say thanks and head to leave when he insists as he bought my drink I owe him a kiss. I tell him I owe him nothing as it was his choice, and get shouted at that I’m just a frigid bitch. – One day I asked my niece (at the time 7) what she wanted to be when she was older. “I wanted to be a cricketer but women don’t play cricket so I can’t do that”. Mum, sister, and me immediately all tried to find tickets to a woman’s cricket game just to show her that while it’s not seen on TV nearly as much, she can do any sport she wants. Now (aged 9) she is a part of a cricket team, and a good player too! Just very sad that the media already taught her that certain sports were for men only. Sorry for the essay, these are just the stories that made me angriest/saddest when considering the “equal” world we supposedly live in.


One of my male colleagues at work reading the sports news at lunch: “ooh there’s an article on a female jockey here, I wonder what they call them – a jockeyess?” Me: “um, or maybe a jockey?” Cue embarrassed laugh (and to his credit) an apology.

Non-Binary Paul

I wanted to attend the horse racing at Aintree but I’ve found out that it’s LADIES DAY the races today. I wonder how the naming would go down with women if a sport were to name a certain day in the sport MENS DAY. Double standards.


Im doing competitive ballroom dancing. When someone talks about A couple (male+female dancing/ competing together) it’s refered to by the mans name and what he is doing.Not the couple together, like the women wasn’t A equal part of the team, like she’s Not important and is half responsible for achivements. It’s all this small things in everyday life.


It’s more verbal for me. I have now moved to the UK but, every time I go back in Italy where I’m from, I am told that I “am less female” because I don’t like washing up and cooking, that I “can’t play football” because I am a girl. Every time I go back,I am constantly asked if I have a boyfriend,and often told “why don’t you wax”? I love my family, but I am 14, and I should be free to live the way I want to and do what I like to. Football included, granpa. Not to mention when my cousin doesn’t talk to me. He’s a boy, I’m a girl. He finds it awkward. I go to school and half of the girls there are afraid to ask for pads or tampons. My PE classes are separated because “girls can’t keep up with boys”. And the frequent thing boys say “I’m glad I’m not a girl, so I don’t have to wax, wear make up and get my eyebrows done”. It’s just a series of different thing that I’ve grown sick of.


i’ve always been interested in sports. I remember i once went to a cricket event with my male friend who was a very similar height/ figure to me (we were 11) and he was given the normal wooden bat whereas i was given the plastic one because i wouldn’t be able to handle the weight.

Sporty Tween

I was a sporty tween that played soccer and was quite fast at short distance running. I was naturally athletic but because I was a girl, I was labelled as a tomboy. When I would beat all the boys at my school in running races or a game of soccer, they would claim that they were going easy on me, because I was a girl. Girls can be brilliant at sport, but also not be tomboy because they are. Example: Sam Kerr, brilliant Australian soccer player. And do you know what? When I Googled “famous female athletes”, the suggested pages where all “Top 50 Hottest Female Athletes.” Women are more than an object. They are human beings and they can be sporty, smart, artistic, or whatever, without being labelled and objectified.

brummie biker

Some random examples of hurtful things that have happened because I am female. – the countless times presumptuous correspondence arrives addressed incorrectly to Dr and Mrs, instead of Dr and Mr. – being flashed by naked men as I commute by bicycle. Being very regularly heckled by male cyclists, pedestrians and car/van drivers as I cycle. Having a man fire a shotgun at me while cycling (poor aim, luckily). Being chased by a screaming man wielding a chef’s blowtorch while I am bicycle commuting. Having a firework thrown at me while I am cycling to work. – yesterday: at a trades show, encountering 4 men who all referred to town Mayors as exclusively male; one commenting that I was victimising HIM when I pointed out that mayors could also be female. At the same show, while discussing technical details of a product, the salesman changes topic to tell me how pretty I am….even with my husband standing next to me. – after years of fund-raising and organising as a teenager, finally getting the chance and privilege to join a conservation expedition to a rainforest, and in the middle of the very first night, waking up to realise one of the men has lain down beside me in our tent and is holding my hand. So then spending the rest of the 2 month expedition having to worry about whether I am going to be assaulted. – cycling across France along a popular cycle route that is advertised worldwide, but never finding any public toilets en route that has provision for disposal of female sanitary products. – consoling my 16 year old sister, who, at her first careers fair, is warned that training as an architect is probably going to be too demanding because she is likely to want to get married and have children before the end of the course. – the time at secondary school when we were told to wear leotards for sports class, and a male teacher took the class as a substitute. He spent most of the time making us perform ‘exercises’ that involved spreading our legs wide apart, while he stared at our crotches. – the disappointment in discovering that your employer has not complied with the government’s requirements for reporting the gender pay gap (is receiving a fine the lesser of two evils?). And the disappointment being compounded when the local union rep (male) fails to show any interest in chasing this up. – the countless times in my career that my ideas are only seriously considered as good or valid after they have been ‘appropriated’ by a male colleague. – the way at university open days I am still often assumed to be a student because I am female and look young for my age, even when I am wearing a name badge that indicates I have a PhD and am a senior lecturer. – the hotel proprietor who used creepy ‘flattery’ tactics (you’re so pretty….how old are you….how do you stay so fit….etc) in an attempt to distract me from the fact he was over-charging for our meal. – taking literally years to build up the confidence to wear shorts in public, the sudden feeling of healthful freedom, and then the man – a complete stranger – who destroyed all that within half an hour by loudly criticising the spider veins on my ankle. – the constant frustration of only pink colour schemes being available in women’s cycle wear and motorcycle wear, which singles us out for special, unwanted attention. The designs / cuts that do not acknowledge a muscular female’s anatomy – we actually do develop muscles doing sport, you know. Apparently we shouldn’t be taking exercise that seriously? – at the reception desk in CostCo, my husband is asked what is his profession. I am not asked. – our neighbours, though lovely people, only ever ask me about my husband, or if we are together, only ask us things about him. What I do or think is never important enough even for chit-chat. – if a man had been bleeding heavily and continuously for 50 days, I suspect his GP might be motivated to do more than simply prescribe him some iron tablets.

Why is kissing a reward?

I’ve noticed that the coverage of the Giro cycling race always seems to have an accompanying photo of the stage winner with two young women kissing him on respective cheeks . Why? Surely winning a sporting events shouldn’t come with the reward of a kiss? What kind of message does that send about male entitlement? As a contrast, I’ve never seen the winner of a female sporting event rewarded with two men kissing her (hopefully because she chose not to be kissed by two random men rather than because it was not an option).