Gender and Politics in the media

Saudi Women’s Olympics Debut, Olympics 2012: Year of the Woman? Gender testing

 Reuters Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, one of the first two female athletes sent to the Olympics by the conservative Muslim kingdom, is due to compete in the women’s heavyweight tournament next Friday. “She will fight according to the principle and spirit of judo, so without a hijab,” International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer said.

 U.S. News & World Report They didn’t qualify for the games. They’re not welcome to compete in their country or attend sporting events even as fans. And they are receiving little to no training or promotion from the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee. But despite these obstacles, Sarah Attar and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani have arrived in London as their country’s first female athletes ever to compete in the Olympic Games.

 Huffington Post (blog) The participation of two Saudi female athletes in the London Olympics is an important first step but does not go far enough in addressing entrenched problems of gender discrimination in the kingdom, Human Rights Watch said today.

 Global Voices Online Saudi Arabia will be sending two female athletes to the 2012 London Olympics, which officially begin tomorrow.

 The Atlantic This is the summer of the female Olympian. For the first time, every nation competing will have a woman on its team. In an important milestone, the United States is sending more women than men to compete in London. Even the conservative Islamic state of Saudi Arabia is allowing women to participate. Let’s appreciate that it’s taken women more than a century of struggle to reach this point. Claressa ”T-Rex” Shields gives new meaning to the term girl power. The 17-year-old middleweight from Flint, Mich., is known for powerful combos and lightning footwork, and is the youngest competitor in women’s boxing, a new event at the London Olympics. She’s also one of a crowd of female athletes grabbing the limelight at the 2012 Games, which are quickly shaping up as a watershed for women’s sports

. Daily Beast The person carrying the flag for South Africa at Friday’s opening ceremonies might be one of the most-famous athletes on the planet. But her notoriety has little to do with her talent on the track; nor does it stem from her hardscrabble personal story…

 GlobalPost (blog) How masculine can a woman be before it’s unfair for her to compete in sports against other women? The International Olympic Committee has tried to tackle that question with new gender-verification regulations. But LGBT activists and others say that the new rules only muddle the situation.

 Gay Star News With the 2012 Summer Olympics set to open tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) faces a new scandal over its gender testing. The gender verification policy is designed to determine whether intersex athletes should compete as women or men.

 ABC Online Women were not allowed to compete in the first ever Olympics back in 1896. Indeed, when women first started competing in the early 1900s, their dress was so modest that their swimming costumes or gymnastics outfits could have been considered more of a hindrance to performance than anything else.

 Reuters UK Women’s rights campaigners called on Wednesday for an end to sex discrimination at the Olympics, urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure there are equal numbers of sports and medals for men and women. Representatives from various European women’s groups met in London for a symbolic burial of the Olympic Charter, saying its principles of condoning any form of discrimination and upholding equality of men and women had been decimated.

 Christian Science Monitor With no access to padded mats, Geeta Phogat grew up wrestling on a mud floor in an enclosure next to a cattle shed. It was the best training facility that her father, a poor farmer in rural India, could build for his daughter, who he hoped would one day become a world-class athlete.

 The National The IOC president Jacques Rogge has asserted that London 2012 is the first Olympic Games at which all delegations include women. “It is a very important point,” Mr Rogge said. “Before this there was no gender equality in sports and gender equality is a human right.”

 Yahoo!Xtra Blogs (blog) Basketball star Lauren Jackson, the first woman to lead Australia’s team into a summer Olympics in 20 years, refuses to buy into the gender debate that raged all week over whether it was time for a woman to be flag bearer. “That debate can go on forever. It isn’t one that should be talked about in this arena. I don’t think the Olympics is the place for it,” Jackson said after becoming the first woman since diver Jenny Donnet in Barcelona in 1992 picked for the glamorous ceremonial honour. More than a century after women were first allowed to compete in the Olympics, the run-up to the 2012 London Games has been fraught with controversy over what, exactly, female athletes should wear. Beach volleyball players will be able to wear more clothes, rather than less, for the first time in Olympic competition — free to swap their bikinis for more modest shorts and sleeved tops.

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