Women in Motorsport – the W Series

It’s been recently reported in the Media [1][2] that there is a new female-only motorsport series being launched called “W Series”.

British IndyCar driver Pippa Mann calls it a “sad day for motorsport” and that it will segregate women drivers. I agree with her.

I think this quote by Charlie Martin sums it up for me:

“This series is founded on segregation, and while it may create opportunities for some female drivers, it sends a clear message that segregation is acceptable.

“We don’t discriminate in sport based on race, so it is particularly jarring that we feel it is acceptable to do so based on gender in 2018. As racers, we want to compete against the best drivers – regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or gender – and prove we are the best at what we do.”

I have absolutely no problem with nurturing new talent, for bursaries, sponsorship, management contracts, and the like. But a separate series?

I mean, come on, are we going to have a Blacks-only series? A Gays-only series? Your skin colour, gender, and sexual orientation mean absolutely nothing in motorsport.

This is not empowering women, it is saying that they should be sidelined into their own series so they don’t bother the men in the “real” series.

David Coulthard, who is backing the new series, said he believed men and women could compete on equal terms in motorsport. So how is segregating men and women allowing them to compete on equal terms? By very definition, it is preventing them from doing so!

The other danger is that with this championship being open to all abilities and experience, a woman with genuine ability could find herself flattered into looking amazing while not working that hard, whilst her male peers are fighting tooth and nail and learning the ropes, leaving her unprepared and embarrassed when (or if) she does get her shot at competing on equal terms.

As a way of getting women into motorsport, this is entirely the wrong way to go about it.

Further reading

This blog post by Pippa Mann goes into more detail

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