Scottish Women in Sport: We should never forget the power words have

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I’VE often been called contrary, although to be fair it was quite a few years ago and at the time I accepted it, as it felt it was part of the territory of being a young women in the 1970s.

However, through age and experience I can assure you that I would not accept anyone describing me like that now!

There are so many different derogatory words that have been used over the years, which basically aimed to undermine women, strip them of their confidence and keep them in their place. Bossy, moany, emotional, and hormonal are just a few. This type of women-blaming impacts on the ever-growing campaign for equality and I had hoped we were beginning to see the back of it.

However, the head of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, who is 83, and who I believe has made a career out of making inappropriate remarks about women, is facing calls for his resignation after he was quoted as saying women talk too much and that meetings with many female board directors took too much time, because of this.

On a board that has 19 male members and five females, I can’t see this being the case.

This type of sexist stereotyping has no place in modern sport, where so many women are working hard to the macho culture that still exists in the boardroom.

This is not the only report of sexism against female athletes, as last week, a number of female Welsh sprinters spoke about how they have been verbally abused by strangers as they train in public due to Covid restrictions on elite athletes.

This particular quote from sprinter Hannah Brier sums up the intensity of feeling when she said: “It’s actually quite ironic … I’m not allowed on the track for safety reasons, but I don’t feel safe where I’m training now.”

No-one should underestimate the immense power of words, both negative and positive. In the latter sense, they can lift someone’s spirits and make an enormous difference to their mindset.

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