Longtime readers of this magazine will know that we have been one of the few publications—of any kind or genre—that has consistently devoted real coverage to the history and contribution of women in motorsport. Sadly, the fact that this statement even has any relevancy is a depressing testament to the current standing and status of women in motorsport.
The disappointing inequity of women in professional motorsport was underscored recently when it was announced that a European concern was setting the wheels in motion for an exclusively all-female, open-wheeled, race series in 2018 that would pit select female drivers against each other in older cars. While this superficially may appear to be a step forward to the casual observer, the reality is that by even suggesting that women need a “separate class” in which to compete, denigrates and marginalizes their competiveness and skill in the top echelons of motorsport. As Indycar driver Pippa Mann summed it up, “They wanted to put us in second-hand, second-rate GP2 equipment whatever our experience levels, and have us racing amongst ourselves in a special sideshow series just for girls, competing for a girls-only cup. And the cherry, on top of the icing, on top of the cake? This stripping of power away from female athletes, in one of the few sports where men and women can and do compete equally, was being presented as a way to empower us? Stripping away our identity as racers and forcing us into segregation is not empowerment. Oppression masquerading as opportunity is still oppression.”
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