ZELLA COMPTON: Will Tour de France now follow suit and ban grid girls?

Emmeline Pankhurst (second left) being arrested in London

They dared to act. That could be the tagline of any blockbuster, but it’s a quote from a newspaper article which relates to the women’s suffrage movement, the ladies who set about staking their claim to the right to vote.

This week sees 100 years since that movement really gained traction, when more women were finally allowed to participate in democracy, if they were over 30 and were property owners.

It seems ludicrous now, does it not, that such restrictions were placed on women, that gaining rights was an inch at a time? Some women got to vote, but all were banned from football three years later.

We like to talk about equality in our society and yet still it moves at a snoozing glacier’s pace.

Actually, sport is a fabulous example of how far there is still to go.

Last week Formula 1’s grid girls’ careers as decorations came to an end. That’s an inch forward for racing, not popping women around the place as ornaments, and that only took 50 years or so for that small change. Will other sports – the Tour de France perhaps – follow suit? Or shock horror, properly encourage and fund women’s participation in sports?

Would persuading the BBC and other broadcasters – who like to harp on about women becoming more involved in sport – to present gender differences more readily make a difference?

When the England’s women’s football team play we know it’s the women’s team. All presenters tell us that they’re talking about women.

A step forward would be to tell us when they’re reporting on men’s sports. More on men’s football, men’s rugby, men’s golf, men’s cricket.

Perhaps this word play would help remind those who believe that equality is here and now, that actually we’re still a long way off?

I honestly don’t believe, given that this is the norm, that people realise how skewed the country is.

And, by the way, it’s not because women are rubbish at sport, it’s a hangover from being banned, not being funded and not shown role models.

They dared to act. Just as all of the #metoo women have dared. Just as the BBC reporters paid less than their male counterparts have dared. Just like every woman and every man should when they see inequality being paraded as the norm. The suffragettes were a milestone in a movement, not the end, and it’s a mistake to even entertain the notion that they achieved everything for us. We continue onwards, making our country a better place for women, and men.


Who knows what’s going on with Brexit?

I doubt anyone is putting their hand up to say ‘yes’, whether they voted to remain or leave.

It’s uber-complicated especially as our beleaguered prime minister is left speaking in PR sound bites. Honestly, I think she’s taken out copyright on the words strong, stable, and special relationship so much does she sneeze them into every conversation.

I saw a wonderful analogy by Lord Lisvane. Brexit is like taking two elderly relatives to the cinema. They voted to go to the cinema, and when they get there, all that’s showing is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Reservoir Dogs. Which do they choose as a consequence of their democratic decision?

Or should they have another democratic vote to see whether they might want to stay at home instead?


Doritos are seemingly going to introduce a new range of crisps for women.

Apparently women don’t like to crunch their crisps in public, or lick their fingers, and need smaller packets to put in their handbags.

Well, thank goodness for that, eh ladies?

Phew. There we were thinking stereotypes might be on the way out, that women might not be made to feel ashamed for eating, that we couldn’t cope with biting a crisp as we’re so much weaker.

But Doritos are here to reassure us that lazy marketeers are still out there, thinking up ridiculous ways to make sales, by making woman doubt their position in crisp-eating society.

I’m gutted, as until I read this, Doritos were one of my favourites, but now, this is one boycott a company will notice.

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