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Today In History with The Retrospectors

The Suffragettes of Sport

Ep. 497

The first international women’s sports event, The Women’s Olympiad, kicked off in Monte Carlo on 24th March, 1921. A hundred athletes from five nations competed in track and field events, defying the male-dominated Olympic movement that excluded women from all sports except tennis, golf, sailing and croquet.


Created by campaigner Alice Milliat, the event showcased the skills of pioneering athletes Mary Lines, Violette Morris and Lucie Bréard - but was primarily intended to put pressure on the ‘proper’ Olympics to finally admit women into all sports - something not fully achieved for another forty years. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how rumours of ‘fainting’ women put the feminists’ cause back by decades; consider whether the IOC’s concerns regarding ‘ladylike’ pursuits were straightforward sexism; and reveal how a Paris2024 tribute to Milliat’s victory was usurped by corporate sponsorship…


Further Reading:


#Sport #Sexism #France


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2023.

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