Gender and Sports: The Equestrian Exception
Few major cultural events are as gender-segregated as competitive sports. Whenever men and women compete in separate events, the economic consequences are stark: The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) reported that in 2013 women’s sports received 7% of coverage and 0.4% of the total value of commercial sponsorships. While there are a handful of athletic events where men and women compete against each other (such as auto racing or bowling), equestrian sports are the only major arena where women are significantly represented in mixed-gender competitions as a matter of course: currently, six of the thirteen members of the US Equestrian team and eight of thirteen members of the German team are women, even though women qualified to compete in the Olympic equestrian games only in 1964. This MCube project seeks to delve into the cultural and economic history of the feminization of equestrian sports.