Today saw more than 1,800 athletes take to the water in an idyllic setting about 37 miles to the west of London, as part of the Henley Women’s Regatta. For most female rowers in the UK, and around the world, this is one of the most prestigious and exciting events in the rowing calendar.
Women’s rowing has come a long way in the last 100 years. For most of its history, rowing has been a male dominated sport. Rowing has been around for a very long time, and can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians.
In more recent history, modern rowing as a competitive sport can be traced to the early 10th century in London, in the UK, when races were held between professional watermen on the River Thames. The first Henley Women’s Regatta was held in 30 years ago in 1988. In the first regatta, there were 109 entries requiring 97 races, with predominantly British crews with a few from Ireland and one from the Netherlands. Today, there are 441 entries from over 1,800 competitors requiring 285 races and 17 time trials. A lot has changed in the last 30 years in women’s rowing…. but we have still not crossed the finish line in achieving gender equity in our sport. Continue reading “Boats for women: Equity, the right to vote, and the sport of rowing”