Level playing fields?

Obvious differences in physical strength and power preclude women from competing head-to-head with men in numerous sports from boxing and weightlifting to football, rugby, cricket, athletics, martial arts, cycling, tennis, swimming and rowing. In other sports, physical differences are less important, or wholly unimportant, and women either compete or have competed on equal terms.

Obvious differences in physical strength and power preclude women from competing head-to-head with men in numerous sports from boxing and weightlifting to football, rugby, cricket, athletics, martial arts, cycling, tennis, swimming and rowing. In other sports, physical differences are less important, or wholly unimportant, and women either compete or have competed on equal terms.

EQUESTRIANISM: The best example of integrated sport. Men and women compete on equal terms to the highest level in show jumping, three-day eventing, dressage, endurance and driving disciplines. Britain's Pippa Funnell is among the best in the world.

SAILING: In solo ocean-racing, men and women compete on equal terms, as Ellen MacArthur, below, did in the Vendée Globe and Emma Richards did in the recent Around Alone. Until 1984, when Britain's Cathy Foster won a place at the Olympics in the 470 dinghy class, Olympic sailing events were open. From 1988 onwards, it was deemed that women needed separate classes because strength and weight can be telling factors.

MOTOR RACING: No rules and no physical reasons prevent women racing against men. In the 1920s, the unlikely figure of Barbara Cartland was promoting ladies' races at Broadlands. Today, while several female drivers race in the US, not one does so in Formula 1. In 1975, the Italian Lella Lombardi became the only woman to score points in an F1 race - the Spanish Grand Prix. In the late Seventies, Britain's Divina Galica raced in qualifying races for F1 but she failed to make the grid.

HORSE RACING: Alex Greaves is the only woman to have ridden a winner in Britain at the top level (Group 1) which she did aboard Ya Malak in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 1997. Other current British women riders, a rarity, include Kim Tinkler and Joanna Badger.

SNOOKER: Kelly Fisher, the women's world champion and women's world No1, plays on the men's Challenge Tour, which is the level below the main tour that includes the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan. No rules stop women competing against men. Fisher, above, is ranked No 197 in the world overall.

BOWLS: Ken Woodcock, of the English Bowling Association, says: "There is no reason whatsoever why men and women can't compete on equal terms." At club level, men and women often compete against each other but at international level events are split. Woodcock says this is more for historic reasons than anything else.

DARTS: No rules stop women competing head-to-head with men and they do so regularly at club level. Women have their own major events (dominated in recent years by Britain's Trina Gulliver) but although some have played in qualifiers for men's events, none has made the main draw.

SHOOTING: Margaret Thompson Murdoch, an American, became the first woman to win an Olympic medal in open competition when competing in 1976 at Montreal in the small-bore rifle event. However, most events at Olympic level are now segregated, mainly as more women now shoot (which justifies separate events, say organisers).

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn