News, Culture & Society

Wimbledon: Planned protest in ladies’ singles final over all-white dress code due to period concerns

Wimbledon is braced for a protest on Saturday as the All England Club comes under pressure once more for its strict all-white dress code in light of growing criticism for women playing while menstruating.

A group of female activists will stage a small-scale protest outside the main gates at the All England Club to highlight their stance, according to the Telegraph.

The protest, which coincides with the day of the ladies’ singles final between Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina, is to focus and highlight the issues for females competing at the iconic SW19 tournament when they are on their periods.

In doing so, the protestors will be wearing a custom-made skirts with a ‘red blood’ skort underlayer.

‘These archaic rules were written years ago by men and they’ve gotten stricter and stricter over the years. It’s about time they were rewritten with menstruation in mind,’ Gabriella Holmes, 26, one of the co-founders of the ‘Address The Dress Code’ campaign said.

‘We’re not asking for drastic changes. Maybe the Wimbledon board can sit down and make a couple of amendments that consider the fact that women are competing on their period and it’s adding to their pressure when they’re performing at this level.’

One amendment Holmes would welcome is Wimbledon allowing women to wear the All England Club’s official colours of green and purple under their white attire.

A female activist group will stage a protest at Wimbledon on Saturday over their all-white dress code as they highlight the issues that poses to women competing while on their periods

The protesters will be wearing a custom-made skirts with a 'red blood' skort underlayer

The protesters will be wearing a custom-made skirts with a ‘red blood’ skort underlayer

The protestors have called Wimbledon's rules as 'archaic' with players forced to wear all white

The protestors have called Wimbledon’s rules as ‘archaic’ with players forced to wear all white

In light of the news, a Wimbledon spokesperson said: ‘Prioritising women’s health and supporting players based on their individual needs is very important to us, and we are in discussions with the WTA, with manufacturers and with the medical teams about the ways in which we can do that.

‘It is an issue we have got to think carefully about. It is easy to jump to conclusions about how you might solve a problem, while not considering how you could create a different problem. We’re very concerned about making sure this is something we don’t do.’

Great Britain’s Alicia Barnett, 28, recently opened up about the stress of wearing whites while being on her period and how the symptoms affected her play.

‘I do think some traditions could be changed,’ she said.

‘I, for one, am a massive advocate for women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing, that people are now talking about it.

‘Personally, I love the tradition of all-whites and I think we will handle it pretty well.

‘I think being on your period on the tour is hard enough, but to wear whites as well isn’t easy.’

The news of the planned protest comes just a day after the England women’s football team revealed they have spoken to Nike about scrapping white shorts from their kit over concerns of playing on their periods.

England began their Euro 2022 campaign on Wednesday evening in the best possible way, beating Austria 1-0 in front of a sold-out Old Trafford, all while wearing their white kit.

However, according to the Telegraph, the design is causing anxiety among players and discussions have taken place with the FA and their official kit manufacturer over the possibility of switching up the bottom half of the design.

Ons Jabeur (pictured) will take on Elena Rybakina in the women's singles final on Saturday

Ons Jabeur (pictured) will take on Elena Rybakina in the women’s singles final on Saturday

Great Britain's Alicia Barnett has opened up about the stress of wearing whites at Wimbledon

Great Britain’s Alicia Barnett has opened up about the stress of wearing whites at Wimbledon

‘It’s not practical when it’s the time of the month’: England star Beth Mead reveals the team have discussed scrapping white shorts with manufacturers Nike due to concerns over playing during periods 

England stars have spoken to Nike about scrapping white shorts from their kit over concerns of playing on their periods.

According to the Telegraph, the team’s all-white kit design is causing anxiety among players and discussions have taken place with the FA and their official kit manufacturer over the possibility of switching up the bottom half of the design.

‘It’s something we’ve fed back to Nike,’ said Wednesday’s goalscoring hero Beth Mead. ‘Hopefully they’re going to change that [the colour]. 

‘It’s very nice to have an all-white kit but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month. We deal with it as best we can. We’ve discussed it as a team and we’ve fed that back to Nike.’ 

Asked if there was any preference on which colour could be brought in, Mead explained: ‘I’m pretty easy, I’m pretty laid back to be fair. As long as I’m playing for my country, I don’t mind what I wear.’

Beth Mead says it is ‘not practical’ for England stars to wear white shorts on their period

There is an understanding from players that moving away from the traditional England colour scheme of all white is a tough call. 

Georgia Stanway also spoke on the subject on Wednesday evening and admitted that it was far from a straightforward decision.

‘It’s difficult, because we associate England with white,’ said Stanway, who was named player of the match at Old Trafford. 

‘The home kit is unbelievable, it looks really nice. I think that’s something that we can speak about as a full squad, as a group of girls.

‘I think next year there is potentially a colour change going in. I think it’s hard, because once you’re on the grass, nothing else matters. 

‘I think we have a good doctor who likes to look after us. As soon as the adrenaline comes in, you could be naked and nobody cares. That’s what happens when you’re on the pitch, you forget about everything.’

Football is not the only sport where the issue has been raised. Women who participate at Wimbledon are still obliged to the rules that all competitors must where all-white uniforms while on court at SW19. 

England stars revealed discussions have been held over changing the colour of their shorts

England stars revealed discussions have been held over changing the colour of their shorts

A host of tennis players have spoken out about the strict dress code, with British player Heather Watson telling The Times: ‘I have come off court and I’ve looked and gone: “Oh my God. I hope you can’t see that in any pictures.”‘

Meanwhile social media users have also been campaigning for a change to the dress code, with one tweeting: ‘I love Wimbledon. But as a former athlete who prayed ahead of every major swim meet that I wouldn’t have my period that day, I’ve always wondered how female tennis players felt about being forced to wear white (with limited bathroom breaks). 

While another wrote: ‘Wimbledon dress code tradition is actually wild when you think about it. Making the girlies rock white? What must happen when they’re on their period?

‘The constant anxiety you’d have about a potential leak. Free the girlies from wearing white please.’ 

A third added: ‘Why the f*** does Wimbledon still make female tennis players wear all white, regardless if the female is on her period?’

Rennae Stubbs told The Telegraph that the conversation had come up in the locker room on multiple occasions, saying: ‘At Wimbledon, you’re very cognizant of making sure that everything’s “good to go” the moment you walk on the court – making sure that you have a tampon.

‘A lot of women have pads on top of that, or making sure that you have an extra-large tampon before you go on the court.

‘I think it might have been the one time that I actually left the court at Wimbledon, when I did have my period.’

British player Heather Watson recalled how she has come off court at Wimbledon and feared her period may have leaked onto her white clothing

British player Heather Watson recalled how she has come off court at Wimbledon and feared her period may have leaked onto her white clothing

Meanwhile she also revealed how she had once had to tell a rival their period was leaking, quietly pulling them to one side to say ‘you should probably go to the bathroom.’

She told The Times: ‘You are so paranoid that it could happen to you.’ 

Meanwhile former Russian-born French player Tatiana Golovin said she prefers to wear ‘something darker’, adding: ‘For an athlete, it’s very tricky to wear white because you have the photographers, you have pictures everywhere, you’re sliding on the court, you’re falling, you’re playing, your skirt’s flying up.’  

Three Wimbledon junior players were forced to change their underwear in 2017 because they fell foul of the regulations.

The rules state that medical supports and equipment should also be white ‘if possible’.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk