Why The 'S' Matters | Eclectic Cake: Why The 'S' Matters

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Why The 'S' Matters

On a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon, history was made as the boat race gained an 's' for the first time since it started in 1829. This year, the Boat Races saw both the men and women of Oxford and Cambridge universities race along the Tideway.

Previously, it was only men who could enjoy this historic event, with the women rowing on a separate day and a separate course, so it was a joy to see them share this high-profile platform. It's taken a long time to get to this point. Women didn't get a competition at all until almost 100 years after the men and even then it wasn't quite the same. It was apparently unladylike to race, so each team set off individually and were judged on their style rather than time.

Thankfully, we've moved on a bit. And, brilliantly, it seems that everyone welcomed the future of women's sport. Newspaper articles, TV coverage, the biggest bank-side crowds ever...women's sport typically commands only 7% of media coverage, hidden somewhere in piles of pages about football and the gossip of male-dominated sports. This is a big deal.

But it's not just about rowing. This is about making all female sport more visible – showing girls that it's normal to work hard and get sweaty and be strong and compete and even dream that, one day, they'll be the ones celebrated for their sporting achievements.

I'd never watched the rowing before or really had an interest but within the first few minutes of the women's teams setting off, I wanted to try it myself. Imagine if I'd seen the Boat Races as a kid. Maybe I'd have been in one of those teams...

Oxford stormed to victory, winning convincingly by a few lengths with a boat aptly named 'Catalyst' because, surely, this is the trigger of a big change in women's sport.


  1. This is indeed a very cool change in women's sport.

    1. Isn't it just. I can't wait to see what's next.