By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Skateboarding has been considered a male-dominated sport since it's beginnings, even then, there were some girls practicing it but not as much as boys were. However, the cause of this kind of thought was the skills development in a skateboarder.
Much of them were the force, determination, skills to land any trick, fall and stand up too. For some weird reason, those skills were deemed impossible in a girl who wanted to develop them.
There were girls, but most of them abandoned it, to study and have a "worthy" life. There wasn't inspiration, in addition the resources were limited and more for the girls. To men there always were contests and opportunities, even if they had to work hard for it.
If you see a girl skateboarding, it's satisfying and inspirational, but when we talk about the industry and a girl being successful in it, we begin to see people disagree because they start to compare her talent with men talent.
If a girl was on a magazine cover or was sponsored, the derogatory comments became to affect negatively on the skater girl which pushed companies to start to give less to support to them. If a girl wanted to be sponsored, she would need to prove her talent competing and recording.
The vision that a girl just sells as a product stopped being like that. The chance to fight for a place in the industry and turn into a professional career for them was thanks to the inclusion in contests like X Games, with girls like Cara-Beth Burnside, Elissa Steamer, Vanessa Torres, Alexis Sablone, Marissa dal Santo, Lynz, Eliana Sosco, Karen Jonz, and a long list of female with achievements.
Unfortunately, so many contests started to close the female category, most of them because of the differences in the show and talent between men or women. And some others left the category but the unequal prize was huge, at least half of a man win.
World Female Organizations Making a Call to FISE
Photo: lisboa.ind (Unsplash)
By now, things have seen enormous changes, most of these benefited a lot from the skateboarders, to be known and respect, the brands have been committing to supporting more skaters, there's been skateboarding globalization and most of the companies could expand their business.
Dismally equality is something that still is hard to feel in each contest and company. Until now a woman doesn't receive the same payment as a man does, which doesn't let the increasing number of girls being supported, in most of the situations, contest supply those necessities, and many of them pay half of what men win.
This time is the case for FISE, "The FISE World Series brings together the best athletes from BMX Freestyle Park and Flatland, Skateboard, Mountain Bike, Freestyle Roller, Parkour and many others. Each year, more than 2700 amateur and professional athletes from around 40 countries follow the FWS stages hosted by emblematic cities, marking their commitment to youth and sports" as they expressed on their official website.
They have been doing world sports events from 1997 until now. They are supposed to work for equality, but this year, like others in the past, they proved that they don't take into consideration equality as they say on their official website and that is what female skateboarding organizations from all around the world confirm.
This pushes female organizations from America, Europe and Asia to demand an answer to this unfair prize in the skateboarding modality. For men there is a prize of 8000 UE and women 4000 UE, like this sport there are other modalities unequal as well.
They already sent a letter at the end of July, proclaiming their arguments, adding: "The sports fair E-FISE Montpellier 2020, is a competition endorsed by different Olympic international federations (UCI, WorldSkate, FIG and World DanceSport Federation), and when reviewing guidelines proposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Gender Equality Committee, parity amongst the sports fair E-FISE Montpellier 2020 is not being reflected, and the IOC guidelines proposed by the IOC gender equality committee are not being met" expresses the Women Network of Skateboarding Latinamerican.
They also exclaimed that "the recognition that should be given is that ALL athletes who compete professionally in the sport fair E-FISE Montpellier 2020 should have parity in all aspects of the competition: equal prize purse, equal opportunity, and equal recognition".
As the organizers said in the E-FISE and all their contests, they received donations that exceed 150 thousand euros, which means the opportunity to give equal treatment to all the riders.
FISE Responds To The Girls
Photo: Daniel Lincoln (Unsplash)
FISE responded to this demand, the team included all the information about their work since their beginnings 20 years ago. They expressed how in this period everything has changed including the women's participation, "we have always been unanimous about the importance of offering female athletes the same visibility and parameters as their male counterparts" expressed the organization in the letter.
The letter included some changes that they made, some of them because of the pandemic situation, the foundation to help "athletes who are facing economic hardship because of the current health crisis" as they said.
They assured how much money they collected, they communicate in the letter that they had to cancel the participation of some modalities as well and described that they have started an equal treatment in other modalities like Parkour and Breakdance.
Even so, the organization didn't express anything about changing the parameters of this year's event, they assured that "we are determined to keep total gender equality at the heart of all discussions relating to future editions" said FISE as a response to the Women Network of Skateboarding Latinamerican.
They added the specifications of the Olympics and in some way they committed to be equal in future editions, but they didn't make an agreement to fix that huge mistake that gives women another year of inequality.
By now, the Women Network of Skateboarding Latinamerican is working on a counter answer to FISE, they want to make an agreement to guarantee equal treatment and to be part of the solution that will help more skateboarder girls.