Gender and Politics in the media

Sexist Olympic Advertising, Australian gender battle over flag bearer, Gender Games

 ESPN Team USA’s Diana Taurasi said Friday women’s basketball is still fighting for respect. In the meantime, the Japanese women’s soccer team flew coach to the Olympics, while the men’s team was in business class. During an Olympic year which is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, what battles are female athletes still fighting and how far have they come.

 NDTV Canoeing during the London Olympics will have men giving their best to secure a medal for their respective countries. For women however, it will be a story untold. Reason? No event for the fairer gender! According to a few articles published in the British press, the move to have events at Lee Valley White Water Centre only for men has left women canoeists fuming. Samantha Rippington, an elite female canoeist has already threatened to take the matter to the High Court.

 Slate Magazine The International Olympic Committee has a new rule this year for deciding who gets to compete as a woman. The IOC’s hope is to avoid a spectacle like the one that followed South African runner Caster Semenya’s victory in the women’s 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships. Semenya’s sex became a question mark amid speculation about her masculine-looking physique. She wasn’t allowed to compete for almost a year, and then she was reinstated without a clear explanation. Nobody wants to repeat that. The question, though, is whether the science is clear enough to justify the Olympics’ latest approach—and the answer is probably no.

 Daily Mail Caster Semenya is looking forward to running in the London Olympics with the controversy that dogged her 2009 World Championships win behind her. The South African, then aged just 18, stormed to victory in the 800 metres in Berlin but was then forced to undergo gender tests after exhibiting high levels of testosterone. Semenya was left in limbo and has been unable to kick on from her time of one minute 55.45 seconds in that final, but is now back at the forefront of the event and looking ahead to this summer’s Games with optimism.

 Bitch The Olympics started as an über-macho, male-only competition in ancient Greece. While a lot has changed since then, women are still facing sexism when it comes to the Games.

 Yahoo! Canada Sports (blog) The choice of a country’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of an Olympic Games is always a difficult one, but that’s taking on new dimensions in Australia, where it’s become a gender controversy. Beach volleyball player Natalie Cook told Australian reporters in London that she may boycott the opening ceremonies based on chef de mission Nick Green’s flag bearer choice, saying “If there’s a male that carries the flag I will sit in protest.”

 Ninemsn Twitter has lit up as the gender debate engulfs the question of who will carry the Australian flag at the London Games opening ceremony. Beach volleyballer Natalie Cook, attending her fifth Games, said this week the appointment of a female flag bearer should be a “no-brainer”. “If there’s a male that carries the flag I will sit in protest,” she said. The last woman to carry the Australian flag at an opening ceremony was four-time Olympic diver Jenny Donnet at Barcelona in 1992.

 SBS  …Barely anyone notices when women do not receive accolades such as carrying the flag. That a women had not carried the flag since 1992 was not even mentioned before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so it being highlighted this year is actually an improvement. Should the decision be made based on gender? It could be argued that it has always been made based on gender: the evidence of past selections indicates men are automatically more likely to be considered. If that is the case, perhaps there needs to be a process where women candidates are especially considered, if only for them to be considered at all.

 Australian Times Gender will play no part in Australia’s choice of Olympic flag bearer. Twenty years have elapsed since a female last carried out the ceremonial honour, and history-making beach volleyballer Natalie Cook has upped the ante by declaring in jest she will…

 The Australian The Belgian Olympian will preside over the first Olympic Games in which every nation will be represented by male and female competitors in London, but he said this was just a step along the path to gender equality. If it weren’t for the high-tech sport rifle cradled in her arms, Bahya al-Hamad would look like your average Qatari girl, with her extraordinarily large, dark and shy eyes, an olive complexion, a slight build, her head covered in black hijab

 Albany Times Union Nothing engages national pride in sports like the Olympics. The Olympic charter says discrimination by  is “incompatible with belonging” to the Olympic movement, and “the practice of sport is a human right.” (blog) “The IOC should disqualify from the Olympics countries that discriminate against athletes on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

 South African Broadcasting Corporation Human rights campaigners have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban countries which discriminate against athletes due to their gender or sexual orientation. They protested in front of the IOC’s official hotel in London. The protesters accuse the IOC of failing to uphold an Olympic Charter that requires all competing nations not to discriminate on grounds of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

 ThinkProgress Despite the remarkable feats of the female athletes that are participating in the 2012 Olympics when it comes to women and athletics there is still a lot of sexism involved. Take, for example, two clear cases of unequal treatment based on gender.

 The Canberra Times Opinion I’M 100 per cent on the side of the female basketballers, soccer players, shot-putters, circus midgets and synchronised swimmers and others of the female sex, persuasion and gender (different things these days, apparently) who are insulted and discomforted by being made to travel in a Qantas cattle class seat while the boys are in business and first class.

 New York Times By a few measurements and in a few instances the turns the usual gender imbalance on its head. This year, for the first time, the American contingent of athletes comprises more women (269) than men (261).

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