It has been a long road to equality for women in sports -- and this march obviously still includes the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2009, there were petitions online that were pushing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow women's ski jumping events at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Sadly, the IOC denied their request. Now, as the London 2012 Games are about to commence, there are still some women's rights and gender issues brewing.
Pole dancing is an Olympic sport too?
There were plenty of reports throughout the world over the past year about a petition to have a pole dancing event at the Olympics. An extremely organized and professional group of athletes; at PetitionOnline.com, Vertical Dance and Labfitness encouraged others to sign by stating, "This is by no means a fad or a trend, Pole is here to stay."
Nonetheless, pole dancing will not be officially included in the 2012 Olympic Games. Instead, the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) will be holding a championship in London in July. About the championship, IPSF Vice President told the Herfordshire Mercury that, "This begins the final step in educating the people of the world about the athleticism, beauty and grace that is found in vertical gymnastics."
Questionable mini-skirt in Olympic boxing
At the 2012 London Olympics, women's boxing will event for the first time -- but will they be forced to wear mini-skirts? In the recent past, there have been pig-headed statements by sports officials that make female athletes think their physique is more important than their talent.
One example cited by CBSNews.com states, "FIFA President Sepp Blatter's much-maligned suggestion in 2004 that female soccer players should wear 'tighter shorts' to increase the game's popularity." For this reason, women were up in arms when the AIBA International Boxing Association, "suggested to its national federations last year that wearing skirts would help the women stand out from the men's competitions."
Non-surgery intersex women grossly mistreated by Olympics
On occasion, a person is born with male and female sex organs and are referred to as intersexed. This is not a disease or an emergency that requires treatment. After all, being intersexed is a normal part of a person's identity and medical history; but discrimination against these individuals is still common at almost every level of society. Unfortunately, lack of acceptance of intersexed people has led to barbaric actions by some of the medical community in order to 'correct' an intersexed person's genetic disposition.
Addressing issues like these is Australia's Organisation Intersex International (OII). In 2010, the OII Australia decided to petition the IOC to change the way that intersex women are treated in the 2012 Olympics. With this history of marginalization in mind, the OII wants the IOC to stop asking that, "female athletes with intersex variations have their variations diagnosed and treated," and for them to be called intersex women instead of, "women with disorders of sex development."
Olympics difficult for hijabed Muslim women
Although many Muslim women do not wear a headscarf (hijab), there are others that feel this article of clothing is part of their religious duties. Sadly, this has not always been viewed as important to Olympic organizers of the past.
Some promising notes are a DailyMail.co.uk article that states Bahrain's Roqaya Al-Gassra was wearing a 'hijood' made by Ahiida.com and, "in 2006 she won the women's 200m final at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, making her the first Bahraini-born athlete to win a major international athletics gold medal."
Despite this, there is a petition at Change.org that states, "During youth Olympics Football Tournament in Singapore 2010, FIFA & the executive committee issued that players couldn't not wear a headscarf." They go on to cite an additional incident where, "players from Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain and Iran [were not allowed to play] during the  Olympics Qualification Rounds."
Where are female Olympiads from Saudi Arabia?
When it comes to protecting cultural identity, Saudi Arabia is very stubborn about some of their stranger traditions -- and maintenance of this political cultural identity extends to women. For example, Saudi Arabia has laws that restrict women from driving. Since this country is focused on women's modesty, one of the issues the 2012 Olympics has struggled with is getting Saudi Arabia to send female athletes to the London Games.
Will there be any female athletes from Saudi Arabia at the 2012 London Olympics? Recently, the Tribune reported, "In April the head of the kingdom's sporting body said no female athletes would be part of Saudi Arabia's official Olympic team, but he left the door open to Saudi women participating in London independently."
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