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  5. 'Everything about me was discussed except my games': Indian International Master Divya vents out frustration

'Everything about me was discussed except my games': Indian International Master Divya vents out frustration

India's 18-year-old chess International Master Divya Deshmukh in a long post on Instagram has vented her frustration regarding rampant sexism she faces as a female sportsperson. Deshmukh said that she waited for the tournament to address the issue while demanding equal respect as male players.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: January 30, 2024 16:46 IST
Divya Deshmukh has alleged sexism after the conclusion of
Image Source : INSTAGRAM Divya Deshmukh has alleged sexism after the conclusion of Tata Steel Masters in the Netherlands

India's chess International Master Divya Deshmukh has had enough as he ranted against blatant sexism female players face on a daily basis. Deshmukh, who recently participated in the Tata Steel Masters in the Netherlands in a long post on Instagram addressed the issue openly while mentioning that the only thing women players demand is equality in terms of their treatment in the tournament and how they are talked to and about, which the 18-year-old mentioned was 'everything except her game'.

"I have been wanting to address this for a while but was waiting for my tournament to be over. I got told and also myself noticed how women in chess are often just taken for granted by spectators,'' Deshmukh said. "My most recent example of this on a personal level would be in this tournament, I played a few games which I felt were quite good and I was proud of them. I got told by people how the audience was not even bothered with the game but instead focused on every single possible thing in the world: my clothes, hair, accent and every other irrelevant thing,'' she further wrote in the Instagram post on Sunday, January 29.

Deshmukh, who hails from Nagpur, finished 12th in the Challengers section with a score of 4.5 at the Tata Steel Masters at Wijk Aan Zee. Deshmukha further said that when a male player is interviewed the focus is always on his game and how he played without much judgement but the case is opposite when it comes to the female players.

''I was quite upset to hear this and I think it is the sad truth that people when women play chess often overlook how good they actually are, the games they play and their strength. I was quite disappointed to see how everything was discussed in my interviews (by the audience) except my games, very few people paid attention to it and it is quite a sad thing.

''I felt it was unfair in a way because if I go to any guy's interview there would be way less judgement on a personal level, actual compliments about the game and the player,'' she asserted.''...every irrelevant thing is focused on and hated on while guys would probably get away with the same things. I think women face this on a daily basis and I'm barely 18.

''I have faced so much judgement including hatred over the years for things that don't even matter. I think women should start getting equal respect,'' she concluded.

Deshmukh, who won the Asian women's chess championships last year, got support from chess legend Susan Polgar, who recalled her playing days saying that she was harrassed and hit on constantly by male players and hence had to resort to putting on no makeup as much as possible.


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