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The Wimbledon Fortnight – Day Nine: Ladies’ Day

It's Ladies' Day! Let's find out how feminism has changed the Championships.

Today’s Ladies’ Day! That means all of the women’s singles matches are played, as well as a couple of gentlemen’s and mixed doubles. I must admit that I usually prefer the men’s matches, but this year the level and the intensity of the female matches really surprised me. Also, I read online that the men’s and the women’s champion didn’t receive the same prize money until as late as 2007. So, honouring Ladies’ Day, I’d like to take a short look at feminism at Wimbledon. Read on!

You must know that the official Wimbledon colours are purple, white, and green (or, as the Wimbledon website calls it, “Wimbledon Green” and “Wimbledon Purple”). While there is no official explanation for the choice of these colours, there are some people who think they know the answer. Firstly, these colours were adopted in the first decade of the twentieth century, also called the Edwardian Era – and green and purple were associated with royalty. Secondly, the green could, obviously, stand for the green grass. However, there’s a more interesting reason for these three colours: the Suffragettes.

Ever heard of that word? It was what the women who fought (quite literally!) for their right to vote called themselves. Fed up with the idea that women were inferior to men, they decided it was time that they were given some power, too. They were quite successful, eventually gaining the vote in 1919, and women from all layers of society could join them. They would write for their magazines, join their cause, or wear scarves or badges featuring the official suffragette colours: white (for purity), purple (for dignity) and green (for hope). Did the AELTC consciously use these colours? And if so, did they do so because they were secretly supporting the feminist cause (highly unlikely, since this post shows that there was at least one determined suffragette who didn’t like the Championships that much and tried to burn the place down), or did they simply like the colours?

Obviously, feminism is more than its colours. So here are a couple of players who advocated women’s rights from inside the tennis courts: Billie Jean King, who has always advocated for equality; Martina Navratilova, who has more tennis title than any other person and who has always fought for the LGBTQ-community; Venus and Serena Williams, who have always been quite outspoken about political issues such as equality, and Althea Gibson, the first Black female to win a Grand Slam, who isn’t that famous anymore but whose story is oh-so interesting.

I’ve written about feminism before, and I always dislike myself for not realising how hard women have had to fight for their rights – even in sports. It’s never been easy, and I daresay there is still no real equality. A good example of this would be the interview Andy Murray did when he lost to American Sam Querry at Wimbledon in 2017, and the interviewer stated that Querry was the first American player to reach the Semifinal of a Grand Slam since 2009. Murray simply stated “male player”, referring to Venus and Serena Williams, who had been dominating the female tennis for years. Thanks, Andy! It’s good to be reminded every once in a while.

Who is your favourite female player? Do you think female players should all advocate women’s rights? Do let me know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to follow me!

Wearing the Wimbledon Colours, or supporting the feminist movement? I’d like to think it’s both.

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