One of the biggest controversies recently surrounding the Tour de France has to do with Lance Armstrong and drug abuse by participants. But one major controversy surrounding the race is barely talked about: the lack of female participants. Actually, women aren’t even allowed to race in the Tour de France, so it’s less of an issue of participation and more of an issue of straight-up discrimination.
Some women, such as Kathryn Bertine, SKN National Champion Cyclist and filmmaker, as well as many other professional female cyclists, are fed up with the lack of inclusion. Bertine and three other women started an online petition that, at the time this article was written, had about 90,900 signatures.
Not allowing women to participate in "men’s only" sports perpetuates the myth of female weakness and physical limitations. In response to those who might argue that there should just be a race created for women: there actually was one in the 1980’s that lacked any media attention or popularity that the Tour de France garners. As with many sports, female athletes lack the same sponsorship and fame that male professionals have. By allowing women to participate in the race, we are giving women a fair chance and finally a platform to perform on that men have always had access to. Female athletes are often criticized for their appearance and scrutinized for factors beyond their athletic ability, while many male athletes do not face the same evaluation. Letting women participate in the race would hold both men and women to higher standards and open the doors for more equality in sports as well as on a more universal level.
Do you believe that there is any reason why female cyclists shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the Tour de France? Do you think that we would benefit from less gender divided sports and more mixed-sex teams?
The petition is here, if you are interested in signing it.
Thanks to: latimes.com
Images from: boston.com, outsideonline.com
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.