Competitive Women’s Rowing in Britain since 1945: The Shadow of the 19th Century

Lucy Pocock racing past crowds in the 1912 Women’s Sculling Championship © River & Rowing Museum.

30 September 2017

Lisa Taylor

Two days ago, Lisa Taylor, who is in her first year as a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) Ph.D. student working on competitive women’s rowing since 1945, published an article on women rowing in Great Britain on the website Playing Pasts, a digital magazine on sport and leisure history. With kind permission from Lisa and Margaret Roberts, one of the editors of Playing Pasts, HTBS is here linking to the article. Lisa writes:

In recent years, the participation, visibility and success of competitive women’s rowing has increased exponentially. Yet progress with regard to competitive rowing has been uneven, and access to competitive opportunities remains limited and conditional – especially when these opportunities form an important part of the historical identity of the sport in Britain. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, for example, has only involved men’s and women’s openweight crews (Blue Boats and Reserves) on the same day, on the same course, since 2016. Henley Royal Regatta, one of the most prestigious events in the rowing calendar in Britain and abroad, offers just four women’s events (three senior and one junior) compared to sixteen men’s, and no open women’s event existed until 1993, after a couple of invitational test events in the early 1980s.  [*Update:  the 2017 programme introduced three new senior open women’s events, so now seven of twenty-three events are open to women, and an equal number of open events are contested by men and women.]

Read more here.

One comment

  1. Doubtless it’s me not being an academic, but I’m intrigued to know in what ways “access to competitive opportunities remains limited and conditional.” As a woman competing in the sport, it doesn’t feel that way to me at all! I’ve been pondering this point since this blog was first published earlier this year (it seems to have been re-date stamped).

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