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London Olympics – gender inequality

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LONDON: Australia’s basketball governing body will review their travel policy after being criticized for flying the men’s team to the London Olympics in business class but putting the women’s team in economy class, reported Reuters.

The different travel arrangements were slammed by Australian media and politicians called for the teams to receive equal treatment.

“We should bear in mind that in fact, historically, more funding has been directed towards the Opals,” said Basketball Australia’s acting chief executive Scott Derwin.

“But the simple fact is when a policy results in gender inequality, it’s very clearly not the right policy going forward.

“I am putting in place a review of our Olympics travel policy with the goal of ensuring there is equity between travel arrangements for the men’s and women’s teams attending future Olympics.

“Part of this review will include consultations with the Opals, the Boomers, and the Australian Olympics Committee.”

Australia’s women’s basketball team, dubbed the Opals, have won silver at the past three Olympics, while their male counterparts have never medaled.

The criticism came in the wake of a controversy over travel arrangements for Japan’s football Olympians, whose world champions women also flew to London in coach as opposed to the less successful men’s team, who flew business class.

The Japanese women’s football team won the World Cup in Germany last year and are one of the favorites for gold in London. The Japanese men’s team are also travelling to the Games but are not expected to medal.

So you can understand why the women were upset after having to fly to the Games in economy class, while the men’s team got the plush treatment in business class.

The Japanese FA explained they made the decision because the male players are professional but the women are mostly amateurs.

Most of the Japanese athletes selected for the Olympics were put in economy and the women were at least upgraded to ‘premium economy class’ because they are considered medal hopes.

However, star player Homare Sawa was less than impressed that they did not get the same treatment as the men.

“I guess it should have been the other way around,” the 33-year-old told the Japanese media.

“Even just in terms of age, we are senior.”

Sawa reckoned the only way her team could hope to get equal treatment would be through winning the Olympic gold.

“When we won the World Cup, our seats were changed to business class for our return flight,” she said. “I hope we can produce a good result again and be treated the same way.”

The men’s team have travelled by business class on all flights since 1996. – MD