Gender issues and inequalities within the bridge community are widely known and acknowledged but not by everyone. In particular, difference of opinion resides in what should be done to address gender inequalities and sexism. Bridge: A MindSport for All (BAMSA) was invited to present a proposal at the European Bridge League (EBL) National Bridge Organisation (NBO) Seminar in Cyprus regarding the development of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy.
Sexism within other sports is widely recognised and addressed, and bridge is lagging behind other competitive arenas in proactively engaging with and tackling everyday sexism and inappropriate remarks made at the bridge table (and within the wider bridge world). Other social inequalities also need to be addressed to ensure equality, inclusivity and fairness for all within the bridge community.
At the ‘Bridging Academia, Policy and Practice’ conference in June (hosted by BAMSA), the gender discussion panel argued that if meaningful change was to occur, it should be policy-driven. Cheating has been addressed by IBOs and NBOs (international and national bridge organisations) with new policies and procedures recently developed. The outcome of the BAMSA gender research and conference is that it is now time for sexism and other social inequalities to be taken seriously.
What should be done to enable bridge to be a more welcoming and safe environment for people of all social groups, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality and disability? As well as the development of an Inclusivity Policy and awareness-raising, measures may also include the possibility of unconscious bias training for TDs, NPCs, coaches, selection committees etc. As a result of the presentation, it is hoped that the EBL will develop a template for an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy that can be adapted by all NBOs.
For more information see:
Gender, Sexism and Bridge session at the BAMSA Conference – recording of gender panel discussion is at the top of the webpage, the Bridging Brains video discusses neurosexism.
Research evidence on everyday sexism within all levels of the bridge community see:
Rogers, A., Snellgrove, M.L. & Punch, S. (2021) Bridging Sexism: Gender Inequality at and away from the Bridge Table, BAMSA Working Paper 2, Stirling: University of Stirling.
Academic paper about the gender research:
Punch, S. and Rogers, A. (2021) ‘Building, not Burning Bridges in Research: Insider/Outsider Dilemmas and Engaging with the Bridge Community,’ Journal of Leisure Research,