Historic Day for the Womens Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race
Despite competing since 1927, the women’s Oxford and Cambridge boat race has never shared the Thames with the male teams. This weekend, crowds lining the riverside in London and fans at home will be able to watch both the Newton Womens Boat race and the BNY Mellon boat race for the first time.
The women’s race has had a long journey and turbulent journey since 1927. Originally, the women’s boat race was judged more on style than speed as any real competitiveness was deemed unlady-like. Even in the mid-eighties, female racers were asked to pose for press photographs wearing nothing but towels. However, in recent years, new sponsorship deals have provided financial support to the women's teams, allowing the campaign to bring the lesser known of the two races to centre stage a much needed push. Watch the video below to learn about the fascinating history of the women’s race.
Over the last few years, there has been a positive increase in more equal coverage of women’s sport in the UK. Perhaps as a result, female participation in boating has seen an very positive increase over the last few years, as discovered in a recent survey by the British Marine Federation.
Figures from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation show that despite 60% of sports fans calling for more women’s sport on television, just 7% of sports media coverage is dedicated to women's sport and a staggering 0.4% of commercial investment is given to women only sport. The significance of this weekend’s races has been recognised by Clare Balding who turned down presenting the Grand National to present the BBC’s Boat Race coverage. Both races will be live on BBC One & BBC One HD from 16:15 tomorrow (11th April).
Article by Jack Bartrop