Campaigners to stage Wimbledon dress code protest over period concerns

A protest is taking place at Wimbledon over the dress code (PA) (PA Wire)

A group of activists will stage a protest at Wimbledon over the dress code due to concerns about periods for players.

Recreational tennis player Gabriella Holmes, 26, and soccer player Holly Gordon, 28, started the campaign, Addressing the Dress Code, to highlight the anxiety women face competing in traditional white clothing.

The pair will lead a protest outside the gates of the SW19 site at 12pm on Saturday ahead of the women’s singles final in the hope Wimbledon will respond to the issue.

Protesters will wear skirts with red underpants, inspired by Tatiana Golovin, the former French player who wore red underskirts under her skirt at the 2007 championship, drawing widespread media attention.

We’ve just started having conversations about the number of young girls who drop out of the sport when they hit puberty.

gabriel holmes

The rally 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 think some traditions could be changed.

“I, for one, am a huge supporter of women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing.”

Ms. Holmes said they want to raise awareness of how decisions made at the top trickle down and affect girls.

“We started having conversations about the number of girls who drop out of the sport when they hit puberty,” she said.

“Of course, a lot of it comes down to body image and overall self-confidence.

“Conversations around dress codes are part of that and what we might be doing to try to break down those barriers that prevent young girls from playing sports after puberty.”

The 26-year-old added that they say Wimbledon bosses must introduce a “drastic” change.

“We understand that they have traditions that they want to keep,” he said.

“Our point is not total disregard for Wimbledon traditions, it is rather that we believe they can evolve over time.”

Mrs Gordon suggested that women can wear the official Wimbledon colors under their skirts.

The 28-year-old said: “I think if the Wimbledon board is turning a blind eye to what professional tennis players have already talked about, what does that look like for young girls?

“So we hope that our campaign and the fallout from this process will spark that conversation and get them to sit down and have that discussion.”

Ms Holmes added that the rule changes could mean that girls are not put off by tennis because they feel welcome in the sport.

“Young girls are leaving sports in their prime; it could be a completely missed opportunity for something that he is really important to them,” she said.

“Ultimately these rules were written a long time ago and the board is still largely male and I think it’s important to consider female athletes and hopefully change those decisions at the top.”

PA has contacted the All England Club for comment.

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