Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

Earlier this year, we wrote about how the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined more than $1,700 by the European Handball Federation (EHF) after protesting sexist uniform rules by competing in shorts instead of the required bikini bottoms.

The imposition of this hefty fine on the Norwegian women’s beach handball team for wearing “improper clothing” at the Euro 21 tournament in Bulgaria has garnered international attention. This finally pressured the International Handball Federation (IHF) to respond to the accusations of sexism by quietly changing its regulations for beach handball over the past month.

Norway’s minister for culture and sport Abid Raja deemed the fine “completely ridiculous,” while women’s sports associations across the continent rallied for the presidents of both the International Handball Fed IHF and EHF to resign.

On top of that, last month the sports ministers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland, put their heads together to write a joint letter to the IHF beseeching them to update their antiquated dress regulations “not only to accommodate current female athletes but also to support and encourage all athletes regardless of their gender or background to remain in the sport.”

Now, the regulations say that “female athletes must wear short tight pants with a close fit.” The changes also follow a campaign by Norway-based Australian activist Talitha Stone, who amassed 61,000 signatures for her petition which was supported by gender equality organization Collective Shout. She was also the leader of Collective Shout’s 2012 campaign against the Lingerie Football League.

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of sexism and objectification of women and girls in sport,” Stone said, adding “that in the future all women and girls will be free to participate in sport without fear of wardrobe malfunctions and sexual harassment.”

While the changes to the dress regulations are a step in the right direction, there are still unnecessary differences between the requirements for men and women. Women must still wear uniforms that are “body fit” and “tight,” while men do not have a corresponding rule.

Source image: Norwegian Handball Federation

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