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Even Serena Williams Can’t Smash the Glass Ceiling

Turns out, the success of women's tennis is all down to men, according to Raymond Moore

Aileen O’Hagan

Naked Politics Blogger

When will it end? It’s Monday morning, the sun is shining the birds are singing and then I turn on the radio and the breaking news is that Raymond Moore, the CEO of Indian Wells Tennis Garden had said in a press conference:  ‘If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have’. Now I am angry. Everyday, I am starting to understand more and more why women burnt their bras.

Novak Djokovic also chipped in, stating that men deserve having a higher pay than women, because the men’s game attracts more viewers. Embarrassingly, he then began to backtrack and talk about the difficulties only women face like “hormones”.

I just don’t understand. Raymond Moore, has been in the game a long time, he has watched the Williams sisters win 26 grand slams between them, has witnessed Judy Murray coach her son into being the second greatest tennis player in the world and was around during the era of Billie Jean King who successfully fought hard to have the women’s game respected. And as Serena Williams pointed out in response to Moore’s comment, the tickets to the Women’s US open sold faster than the men’s. It’s not men that carry women’s tennis; it’s the supporters who pay a lot of money watch.

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I am not even a huge fan of tennis, but the idea women should get down every night on their hands and knees and thank men for everything they have given us, and I confidently speak on behalf of all women here, is down right insulting.  When are successful women going to get the credit they deserve? Putting aside all the other inequalities women face, when a woman reaches the top of her career she still get made to feel that she doesn’t rightfully belong there, as if a position of success is a position for a man. I don’t think so. What continues to surprise me the most is that people I consider, highly educated, like minded individuals who socialise and work with successful, empowered women continue to view men as superior- whether consciously or not.

In my experience everyday sexism is unconscious, preferring a male professor to a female professor or consistently commenting on the appearances of women and not of men. Without sounding like my second year anthropology professor, gender is a social construction and how we view gender is shaped by our values and influences. I personally believe tackling sexism it starts in school, teaching respect and equality from day one.

Its great that this story was yesterday’s breaking news, because it is recognition that it is not acceptable, but it’s not great it was yesterdays breaking news, because this should not even have crossed his mind. Unfortunately, it is likely I will wake up next Monday with the sun shining and the bird singing and then I will log on Facebook or turn on the TV and something will make me so angry that I will actually burn my bra.

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