Chauvinists still scoring own goals

IT’S nearly half a century since Billie Jean King — then 29 — humiliated the chauvinist braggart Bobby Riggs — then 55 — by winning all three sets in a $100,000 battle-of-the-sexes showdown in Houston. 

Chauvinists still scoring own goals

A lot has changed since 1973 but the suggestion that Riggs might challenge Katie Taylor, who fights for the WBA lightweight world title tonight, to a ten-round battle-of-the-sexes decider, must remain a matter of speculation. Riggs died in 1995.

Even though sport has been a significant player in how our world has advanced and offered ever greater — but not yet entirely equal — opportunities to women every now and then the past reasserts itself, sometimes in the most bizarre ways. American teenager Emily Nash won a golf competition but was denied her trophy because she is a girl. Riggs’ sexism lives on in the land of Weinstein and Trump.

We, however, must temper our criticism because the IRFU seems to have downgraded the women’s game by advertising for a part-time national coach. All other Six Nations teams have a full-time women’s national coach so this seems regressive, especially as it was never more important to encourage participation in sport. The GAA has shown what can be achieved. Ladies’ football and camogie were never more popular which meant the record for an All-Ireland Ladies’ Football Final crowd was set when 46,286 fans went to Croke Park on finals day this year. Billie Jean would approve.

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