As I contemplate returning to competitive surfing, apprehension comes to the surface. I expect to wait all day, only to be told at dusk that female divisions will surf the following day and perhaps not until the day after that. I expect to compete with little support while male members of the clan are sought out and cheered on. I expect to read newspaper reports that make little mention of female divisions in surfing. And I expect to be judged always by men because there are still very few women on the judging panels of surfing competitions.
As part of the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations at the Sydney Opera House, Geena Davis shared her extensive research about the representation of women and lack of female characters in a presentation called ‘The power of our media: How film and TV can help us achieve gender parity’. Davis implored creators to “add women on screen, behind the scenes as policy makers. Include women.”
Likewise in the world of sports. In surfing, though it may appear that women are present, the question needs to be asked: Are event organisers bringing a conscious practice to their craft in support of gender equality?