Olympic Ski Jump – A Win for Professional Women
Women are competing in the Olympic ski jump event for the first time ever.
That's worth celebrating. The fact that, and the reasons why, such an event hasn't happened until now, is worthy of screaming and pulling my hair out. You may want to protect your own hair before reading further. Sadly, this won't be the last time professional women are denied their place, and the world is denied the benefits of professional women in their rightful places.
Women skiers leap as far as men. Jumping favors light weights. Women ski jumpers were excluded from Olympic events because there were not enough of them to ensure a real competition, whatever that means. These women have been testing runs on behalf of their male brethren for decades. The Ladies ensure the slopes are safe enough for The Boys to ski. These women, their parents, coaches and supporters fought, pleaded, cried and suffered humiliation for ten years before winning their place on Sochi's slopes.
Warning: The following "rationale" presented during the ten years of denial is fodder for more hair pulling and escalating your scream to a shriek.
"Don't forget, it's like jumping down from, let's say, about two metres on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view." International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper, National Public Radio, 2005:
In her 2013 response, and wisely, after the lady skiers won their right to compete, U.S. jumper Lindsey Van told NBC the comments were vomit inducing.
"I'm sorry, but my baby-making organs are on the inside. Men have an organ on the outside. So if it's not safe for me jumping down, (because) my uterus is going to fall out, what about the organ on the outside of the body?" she raged.
A History of Denials for Professional Women
Ski jumpers are not alone in being denied entry to a sport or practice as professional women. Women, who now make up at least 50% of U.S. medical school students, were once seen as unfit, or perhaps too fit, to be physicians. Elizabeth Blackwell broke that barrier in the mid 19th century. Along the way, she was told to disguise herself as a man or to head for Paris where women were allowed to study medicine. Her denial was based on "the fact" that women are intellectually inferior to men. On the other hand, and from the other side of the mouth, she was warned that she might prove to be good at it and become a competitor to men. As such, she couldn't expect male gatekeepers to "furnish [her] with a stick to break our heads with". Credit for being honest goes to whoever furnished that reply. The veil of political correctness prevents such sentiments from being openly expressed today.
By accident and sheer denial over the possibility of women physicians, Blackwell was accepted to a medical college that is now part of Upstate Medical University. Because officials couldn't make a decision about Blackwell's special case of feminine gender, they put her admission to a vote of the 150 male students, with the understanding that if one student objected, she would be turned away. The young men thought it was a joke. No woman could possibly be considered for admission. They voted in accordance with their denial and Blackwell received their unanimous and accidental "support".
In this 21st century barriers for professional women still exist and 3Plus International takes them down. See how we do it, and let us know if your company is a barrier buster.
I searched, but couldn't find, a list of careers, or sports, once (and possibly still) closed to professional women, along with the ?rationale? If you're in the market for a fun, funny, outrageous and sometimes hair pulling topic for a compelling article (or dissertation) this one's worth considering. If you'd like to publish it here, we'd love to hear from you.
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Dates for the Diary
November 12th European Commission DG GROW
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How to deal with sexism and harassment in the workplace
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