Junior Curlers Mark International Women’s day, 2018
This week sees the best junior curlers from across the world, converge on Curl Aberdeen, for a Championship like no other. A quick walk around the venue, and the different languages heard, the colours, flags and pre-game rituals make for a fantastic atmosphere. Both the Women’s sides and Men’s are really in it together, the media coverage, encouragement and interest equal between the two strands of the competition.
The young female players are quick to agree, Karlee Burgess, plays 2nd for Canada:
‘Curling is really inclusive, girls are on an equal footing with men; I guess some girls are afraid to get involved in sport as they’re worried about their image, but we just need to dispel that myth with positive advertising’
The Swedish athletes are coached by an all-female team, something they say is quite unusual, but that they are incredibly proud of.
Alison Kreviazuk, National Coach for the Swedish Team points out women ‘need to lead by example’, and that in Sweden, curling is marketed to new players as an inclusive game, welcoming of players of all abilities and genders.
Off the ice, President of our Ladies Branch, Margaret Pottie says the standard of the competition is exciting:
‘I think it’s good for women to take part in but we can always do more to encourage them. I feel very excited when I see all the young ones and the standard they’re achieving at this level.
Vice president Margaret Nicol’s got some ideas to encourage change, at board level:
‘I think we can do lots more, there’s not the gender balance yet at high levels and that’s something we need to push for. We need feisty women at grass roots, who we need to try and facilitate at a local level into these key positions. From there, it’s about encouraging and supporting women to become part of the higher echelons of curling.’
Perhaps one of the most recognised and well-known female curlers is Scot, Rhona Howie.
The Olympic Gold Medal winner has a unique understanding of how the sport has changed, for female athletes, at elite level, over the last 20 years.
‘The actual game at club level has not changed at all; women always have and always will be welcomed into curling clubs across the country, what’s changed is media perception.
When we won way back in 2002, in Salt Lake, they said we were housewives with brooms; but that was how women’s curling was viewed back then. There were all sorts of jokes about curling your hair, and sweeping floors. The media coverage has helped to get us away from that image. The more success our female athletes have, the more the perception amongst the general public changes, and moves forward, which is a really good thing’
For more information of what Scottish Curling is striving for, in terms of diversity and inclusion, please see our strategic plan.
To support our young curlers, at the World Junior Championships, limited tickets can be bought for today and Friday, at Eventbrite or on the door at Curl Aberdeen. Finals day is sold out.
Photo: The young women curlers pose on the ice at Curl Aberdeen to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2018. They are joined by President of our Ladies Branch, Margaret Pottie, Vice President Margaret Nicol, and Junior President Morag Wellman.
Credit: WCF/Emile Gareev