Campaigners to stage Wimbledon dress code protest over period concerns
A group of campaigners will stage a protest at Wimbledon over the dress code due to concerns over periods for female players.
Recreational tennis player Gabriella Holmes, 26, and footballer Holly Gordon, 28, started the campaign, Address The Dress Code, to highlight the anxiety that females face competing in traditional whites.
The pair are leading a protest outside the gates of the SW19 site at 12pm on Saturday ahead of the ladies’ singles final with the hope of getting Wimbledon to respond to the issue.
The protesters will wear skirts with red under-shorts, inspired by Tatiana Golovin, the former French player who wore red shorts under her skirt at the 2007 championship, sparking widespread media attention.
We just started having chats about the amount of young girls who are dropping out of sport by the time they hit puberty
The demonstration also comes after British doubles star Alicia Barnett recently opened up about the stress of having to compete in white on her period.
Barnett told the PA news agency at Wimbledon last week: “I do think some traditions could be changed.
“I, for one, am a massive advocate for women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing.”
Ms Holmes said they want to raise awareness about how decisions made at the top trickle down to affect young girls.
“We just started having chats about the amount of young girls who are dropping out of sport by the time they hit puberty,” she said.
“Of course, a lot of it’s down to body image, and general self-confidence.
“The conversations surrounding dress codes are part of that and what we could be doing to try and break down those barriers that are stopping young girls pursuing sports after puberty.”
The 26-year-old added that they are saying Wimbledon bosses need to introduce a “drastic” change.
“We understand that they have traditions that they want to uphold,” she said.
“Our point isn’t total disregard of Wimbledon traditions – it’s more just that we think they can evolve with time.”
Ms Gordon suggested women can wear official Wimbledon colours under their skirts instead.
The 28-year-old said: “I think that if the Wimbledon board are turning a blind eye to what professional tennis players have already spoken about, then how does that look for young girls?
“So we are hoping that our campaign and the consequences of this process will spark that conversation and get them to sit down and have that discussion.”
Ms Holmes added that rule changes could mean young girls are not put off by tennis because they feel welcome in the sport.
“Young girls are dropping out of the sports at their prime time – it could be a completely missed opportunity for something that he’s really important to them,” she said.
“Ultimately these rules were written a long time ago and the board is still largely men and I think it is important to consider the female athletes and hopefully get those decisions changed at the top.”
PA has contacted the All England Club for comment.