Out! Wimbledon ditches ‘sexist’ his ‘n’ hers towels for players for the first time in tournament’s history
- Wimbledon usually gives classic towels to men and seasonal towels to women
- This year, club ditched gender-specific towels, giving one of each to all players
- Decision is latest effort to move towards gender equality for the All England club
It has been caught up in a series of sexism rows down the years.
But the All England Lawn Tennis Club has taken another step towards gender equality.
This year, for the first time, male and female players at Wimbledon are being offered the same towels.
Traditionally, men were given two classic green and purple ‘Championship’ towels, while women received two ‘seasonal’ towels, which in 2019 were pink and turquoise.
But a Wimbledon source said the club had decided to ditch gender-specific towels this year.
Wimbledon has ditched giving gender specific towels to its competitors and will give one of its classic and seasonal towels to each player. Pictured: Andy Murray with both towels this year
Traditionally, the ‘seasonal’ towels given to women were more ‘feminine’ colours such as pink
She described the move as a ‘progression’, saying it felt like the right step for the club because players did not have a preference for either colour.
Players are now each given a Championship towel and a seasonal towel, which is blue and yellow this year.
The club has previously been accused of sexism over a range of issues including unequal prize money, claims that male players are favoured on the show courts, and the tradition of referring to female players’ marital status.
Wimbledon has made efforts to respond to these complaints by committing to equal prize money in 2007, pledging to post the same number of tweets about male and female players, and in 2019 dropping the titles of Miss and Mrs when announcing scores in women’s matches
It seems Wimbledon has made efforts to be more balanced in its courts schedule for matches this year with seven women’s matches on Centre Court and Court One over the past two days, compared with six men’s ties.
But yesterday five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams played her match, her 90th Grand Slam appearance, on Court Three.
The club has made an effort to move towards gender equality by putting more women’s matches on the show courts and awarding equal pay. Pictured: Venus Williams, with a seasonal towell, said she was not concerned when her match was scheduled on court three this week
When questioned about the club’s scheduling, however, the 41-year-old, who beat Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu, said: ‘I wasn’t disappointed. I’m here to play on whatever court I’m put on.
‘As long as I win on that court, that’s all I care about.’
Meanwhile, a Wimbledon source said that it expects to sell out of the £35 Championships towels because it made a ‘conservative’ order last winter based on the number of spectators expected to be allowed on site.
In 2019, Wimbledon sold 27,419 Championships towels over the fortnight, but it is believed that it has ordered less than 75 per cent of that figure this year.