PETITION FOR WOMEN'S EQUALITY IN JIU JITSU
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A Petition for Equal Pay and Opportunity for Women in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Athlete: a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.
- “Athlete.” Def. 1. Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, web. 16 Sept. 2019
In the definition of the word athlete, there is no gender specified, thus concluding no disparity should be made between male and female. Gender inequality is the idea and situation that women and men are not equal. Gender inequality refers to the unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals due to their gender.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest growing sports. Regardless of this fact, many of the big federations for Jiu Jitsu have a discrepancy between male and female payouts as well as opportunity.
Here are the problems that need to be addressed:
1. Inequality in the prize money at tournaments. (See below graphs)
2. Women compete in less diverse weight categories and combined ranks.
3. Opportunities presented by the biggest federations in Jiu Jitsu are only open to male competitors. I.E. IBJJF Grand Prix, ADCC Open Class and Superfights, UAEJJF King Of The Mat.
4. There is not enough media attention for female athletes. One example being an article written and posted on September 8th by FloGrappling entitled, “The Massive and Unfair Size Differences in the ADCC Women’s Divisions.” This article was taken down not even 24 hours later.
Due to the lack of opportunity to compete for big payouts, women are unable to solely live off of prize money throughout the competition year. This contributes to the absence of media coverage and subsequently many sponsorship opportunities.
We believe that these problems can be solved. If the federations and women competitors address these issues, the women’s division will grow, become stronger and even more exciting to the spectators. It is unfair to receive different treatment due to the gender. Women train the same amount of hours, compete at the highest level, and have to mentally deal with the disparities mentioned above.
Women have been competing in this sport for over 30 years (1985), with the first female BJJ black belt being awarded in 1990 to Yvone Duarte. Yet, we are not able to receive the same treatment as men in our sport. We petitioned for women’s divisions to become a reality at the Mundials (1998), we petitioned for the divisions to be separated for all belts (2011.) At ADCC, women weren’t included for 7 years, and when we were invited, there was one open weight class and 8 women competing (compared to 5 weight classes and 16 man divisions.)
We are speaking up and petitioning for the equality of pay and to be given the same opportunity as men for competitions with high payouts. The demand for equal pay is not one that has been asked by female jiujiteras alone. According to www.womenssportsfoundation.org the U.S. women’s soccer team, the U.S. national ice hockey team, the WNBA and Big Wave surfers have all taken steps for equal pay in their respective sports. Some teams have sued their governing bodies, others boycotting major competitions and protesting. This has brought more media coverage for the issue and, in some instances, has brought the change of equal pay for both genders.
This is not a matter of the amount of women competing, as of September 2019; there are 226 ranked female black belts. In 2019, 63 female black belts registered and competed at the Worlds, with 68 the previous year. This is about the motivation from federations and the support we receive.
In this petition we are kindly asking the Federations to review these circumstances and make a change, for the women, and for the advancement of the sport.
Thank you kindly,
The women of Jiu Jitsu and the men that support our cause.
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