8 Female Athletes Who Battled Men on Their Turf

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Source: MCAD Library via Flickr

Source: MCAD Library via Flickr

The volume around the Gender War in sports seems to have dropped down to a low murmur. It’s in a good way — some of those old “Man vs. Woman” bits seem positively quaint now, a throwback to an oversimplified view of sports and competition. As time passes, things become more normalized, and the fact that, say, women’s ski jumping was featured in the Olympics for the first time wasn’t treated as a big story at all. Since, you know, of course women should be able to compete in the same events. Sports don’t have genders.

Except when they do. Look at the controversy around Title IX, the 1972 Educational Amendment that declared gender discrimination wasn’t an acceptable reason to deny anyone’s participation in “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Thirty years on, Title IX is still the subject for debate, as talking heads discuss the merit of the amendment’s proposed solutions to gender inequality.

One occasionally touted, though rare solution is to have men and women play the games together. There has been and will continue to be many people with opinions on this idea — Google reveals 4 million results for “should women compete against men?” — and while the reasons for and against are tricky and nuanced, it does happen. It’s important that it does happen, if only to show that it can happen. Here are eight female athletes that challenged men on their own turf.

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