Campaigners will stage a protest outside at Wimbledon today (Saturday, July 9) over the dress code due to concerns over periods for female players.
Recreational tennis player Gabriella Holmes, 26, and footballer Holly Gordon, 28, started the campaign, Address The Dress Code, to highlight the anxiety that females face competing in traditional whites.
The pair are leading a protest outside the gates of the SW19 site at 12pm on Saturday ahead of the ladies’ singles final with the hope of getting Wimbledon to respond to the issue.
As part of the campaign the protestors will wear skirts with red under-shorts, inspired by Tatiana Golovin, the former French player who wore red shorts under her skirt at the 2007 championship, sparking widespread media attention.
The skirt that will be worn by protestors (Katrina Holmes/PA)
The demonstration also comes after British doubles star Alicia Barnett recently opened up about the stress of having to compete in white on her period.
Barnett told the PA news agency at Wimbledon last week: “I do think some traditions could be changed.
“I, for one, am a massive advocate for women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing.”
Ms Holmes said they want to raise awareness about how decisions made at the top trickle down to affect young girls.
She said: “We just started having chats about the amount of young girls who are dropping out of sport by the time they hit puberty.
“Of course, a lot of it’s down to body image, and general self-confidence.
“The conversations surrounding dress codes are part of that and what we could be doing to try and break down those barriers that are stopping young girls pursuing sports after puberty.”
Ms Holmes added that rule changes could mean young girls are not put off by tennis because they feel welcome in the sport.
“Young girls are dropping out of the sports at their prime time – it could be a completely missed opportunity for something that he’s really important to them,” she said.
“Ultimately these rules were written a long time ago and the board is still largely men and I think it is important to consider the female athletes and hopefully get those decisions changed at the top.”