Activists to stage protest against Wimbledon dress code over period concerns
A group of activists will stage a protest at Wimbledon against the dress code over concerns over periods for female players.
Recreational tennis player Gabriella Holmes, 26, and footballer Holly Gordon, 28, launched the campaign, Address The Dress Code, to highlight the anxiety women face competing in traditional white.
The duo are leading a protest outside the gates of the SW19 venue at 12pm on Saturday ahead of the ladies’ singles final in the hope of getting Wimbledon to address the issue.
Protesters will wear skirts with red undershorts, inspired by Tatiana Golovin, the former French player who wore red shorts under her skirt during the 2007 championship, attracting media attention.
The demonstration also comes after British doubles star Alicia Barnett recently opened up about the stress of having to compete in white while on her period.
Barnett told the PA news agency at Wimbledon last week: “I think some traditions could be changed.
“I for one am a strong advocate for women’s rights and I think this discussion is just amazing.”
Ms Holmes said she wanted to raise awareness about how decisions made at the top affect young girls.
“We just started discussing the number of young girls who drop out of sports by the time they hit puberty,” she said.
“Of course, a lot of that comes down to body image and overall self-confidence.
“Conversations around dress codes are part of that and what we could do to try to break down those barriers that prevent young girls from playing sports after puberty.”
The 26-year-old added that they say Wimbledon bosses need to introduce a “drastic” change.
“We understand that they have traditions that they want to uphold,” she said.
“Our point is not a complete disregard for Wimbledon traditions – it’s more just that we believe they can evolve over time.”
Ms Gordon suggested women could instead wear the official Wimbledon colors under their skirts.
The 28-year-old said: “I think if the Wimbledon board turns a blind eye to what professional tennis players have already talked about, then what does that look like for young girls?
“So we’re hoping that our campaign and the aftermath of this process will spark that conversation and get them to sit down and have that discussion.”
Ms Holmes added that the rule changes could mean that young girls are not turned off by tennis because they feel welcome in the sport.
“Young girls are dropping sports in their prime time – it could be a completely missed opportunity for something that’s really important to them,” she said.
“At the end of the day, these rules were written a long time ago and the board is still largely made up of men and I think it’s important to consider female athletes and hopefully , to change these decisions at the top.”
PA has contacted the All England Club for comment.