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Has the time come to end Ladies only tournaments

#1 User is online   SimonFa 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 01:43

I don't have any strong opinions on the subject of Ladies only tournaments and if Ladies want to have their own events, good luck to them. However after reading this which refers to this paper* I am wondering if these tournaments aren't in the best interest of Ladies bridge.

From the paper:

Quote

Information on rivalís gender affects women and men very differently. In the task that is perceived to favor men, it has a positive effect on menís performance under competition, increasing their performance by almost 60%, but a negative effect on womenís performance when competing, reducing their performance in about 40%.


And as the blogger says:


Quote

What should be done about this? The answer might not be positive discrimination, such as having quotas for women directors.

Quote

Affirmative action policies based on gender may in fact have counterproductive effects, since while creating advantageous conditions for women they also make gender information salient, affecting womenís performance negatively.

Instead, I suspect the solution is to challenge the original stereotypes - to show that gender differences either do not exist or, where they do, that they are the result of a social construct, rather than innate biological differences; the work of Alison Booth is relevant here.


Now, it should be obvious from that I say this not to criticize feminists. Quite the opposite. Underneath the trivial anecdotes lies a real and important issue.


I was also listening to a discussion on female chess players and apparently there is only 1 woman in the top 100, apparently her father refused to let her play in Ladies events and made her play against men, telling her she was good enough.

I suppose the first question is there a stereotype in Bridge that says men are better than women? Rankings are always subjective but there's only 2 women in this list and there doesn't seem to be many women in the EBU NGS top 50 (excluding evolving players). It certainly looks like something is going on.

So, in the interests of Bridge in general and female players in particular has the time come to end Ladies only tournaments? I suspect those who've been around a while wouldn't like it so maybe starting at the junior level and encouraging them to play in Open events only would be a start?





*I admit I haven't read it all, I trust this blogger.

Still looking for a regular real world partner to play 2/1 or SAYC in Dorset area, willing to travel.
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#2 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 02:13

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-26, 01:43, said:

I suppose the first question is there a stereotype in Bridge that says men are better than women?


It is not fair to state that "the overwhelming majority of top bridge players are men" and then generalise to "men are better than women". These two statements are completely separate. The first one certainly appears to be valid, although generations of bridge writers have not come up with definitive reasons as to why. The second one is not at all clear.

As far as I can tell, women's events exist because women want to play in them. Sure, it might mean that the participants are less likely to rise to the top echelon (and I'm not saying that it will), but if it gets more people turning up to play this game, I'm all for it. Most people in any field will not become top players, after all.
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#3 User is offline   Yu18772 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 03:08

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-26, 01:43, said:


I suppose the first question is there a stereotype in Bridge that says men are better than women?....



Yes at least in Israel, and some players that I met from Europe. It is not as openly discussed here (US), but my impression is that the opinion is there, just not vocalized.
I have to say that in my personal experience, on average men are more focused on the game than women, and that brings better results. Obviously, there are excellent female players, just as there are poor male players, but if we are talking about a majority or average that opinion should not necessarily be based on the top 100 ranking....
What is much more harmful imo, is that this steryotype creates a situation where it is more difficult to find a good partner for a rising female player than for a male. How many mixed pairs have you seen in open events? It almost never happens in top level bridge.

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-26, 01:43, said:

So, in the interests of Bridge in general and female players in particular has the time come to end Ladies only tournaments? I suspect those who've been around a while wouldn't like it so maybe starting at the junior level and encouraging them to play in Open events only would be a start?

Define interest of bridge - as many players as possible? Better top few players? As many events as possible?
I dont see ladies only events as the reason for the stereotype - if anything the better women players will always play in the open events as well, it is just another practicing opportunity. Its no different than asking why are there junior events? What might help is promoting mixed pairs events and grooming of young players....
Posted ImageYu
Yehudit Hasin

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#4 User is offline   RunemPard 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 06:14

Would a male only bridge event be considered sexist? :unsure:
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#5 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 07:57

I am not fond of putting people into labeled boxes. That being said, I guess I am ok with having women only tournaments.

First a story: In high school, I think in 1954 when I was a sophomore, we all took these stupid tests to find out what we were good at (I gues that was in case we didn't already know). I was good at math and scored highly. A girl scored almost as highly as I did, but this was not what pleased her the most. She was very proud of the fact that she scored even lower than I did (35th percentile was my score) on clerical speed and accuracy. To really grasp this, it helps to have grown up in the fifties. But this was a girl who early on was quite clear on the fact that a secretarial career was not what she envisioned for herself. Incidentally she came from a very modest background and was already working and contributing to the family finances. I was briefly in touch with her a while back and I am happy to report her life went very well.

The real trick, in my opinion, is to not care whether the average woman is better than the average male at bridge (or mathematics or whatever). I am not the average male, my wife is not the average female. I was raised with the understanding that I was supposed to be self-supporting, but whether I did this as a mathematician (a subject my father knew nothing of and cared about even less) or an auto mechanic was my business. I strongly recommend this view for careers and for our hobbies.
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#6 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-May-26, 10:02

View PostRunemPard, on 2012-May-26, 06:14, said:

Would a male only bridge event be considered sexist? :unsure:

Yes. They used to exist, and that's the reason why they've gone away.

Is there a double standard? Yes. In general, discrimination only causes sufficient complaints to get it abolished if the group being discriminated against feels slighted as a result. There aren't too many men trying to get into most women's-only activities, so they don't get abolished. But women, having been subjugated for most of history in most cultures, complain loudly when they are kept out of men's activities.

#7 User is online   SimonFa 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 00:50

View PostYu18772, on 2012-May-26, 03:08, said:


Define interest of bridge -.
Posted ImageYu

For any activity - as many people as possible plying to the highest standard they want to achieve with no artificial barriers.

But its a bit wider than that. If any group believes they are inferior to another at any given task then then we all suffer as we don't always get the best people rising to the top.
Still looking for a regular real world partner to play 2/1 or SAYC in Dorset area, willing to travel.
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#8 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 02:47

I supose they exist to make them able to win, same reason the second category, junior and senior tournaments exist.


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#9 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 03:25

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-27, 00:50, said:

For any activity - as many people as possible plying to the highest standard they want to achieve with no artificial barriers.

But its a bit wider than that. If any group believes they are inferior to another at any given task then then we all suffer as we don't always get the best people rising to the top.


Surely these are reasons for women's events. There is no reason they or any other group of bridge players can play in the highest standard game around. But if this is the standard they want to achieve then it's worth accommodating the clients.
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#10 User is offline   Yu18772 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 03:40

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-27, 00:50, said:

For any activity - as many people as possible plying to the highest standard they want to achieve with no artificial barriers.


That's a paradox - as many people as possible means many that dont play to the highest standard.
"With no artficial barriers" - there are plenty of other artificial barriers in bridge, e.g. should any bidding system be allowed at any event? What about master point cutoffs and flights? I mentioned age categories before....

Ladies only events are not at all a barrier, unless particular ladies choose to treat it as such. These do not preclude you from playing to the highest standards or participate in any other event. On the contrary. Women that prefer ladies events due to the stereotype, think they are more likely to win in that type of events. They are the type of players that would prefer to win in a weaker field rather than try, but probably loose at a stronger one (wether the weaker field is ladies, or C flight or seniors or juniors bears nor relevance). Unfortunately this is a very common human quality, and pertains to men and women alike - we all like to win, more than being objectively better. Imo this is also one single quality that will never allow such player to reach top level game, regardless of gender, age or education. To get better you must get used to loosing (unless you are Capablanca playing chess).
So if by your definition best interest of bridge is as many players as possible, it is in the best interest of bridge to create as many opportunities of winning for the weaker players (again never mind if these are women, C flight...etc). Abolishing ladies event will certainly defy that purpose.

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-27, 00:50, said:

But its a bit wider than that. If any group believes they are inferior to another at any given task then then we all suffer as we don't always get the best people rising to the top.


There is a huge difference between saying that on average man are better than women, to saying that every woman doesn't play well. First may very well be true, not due to initial tallent, but to circumstance, second is just plain stupid. Moreover, the believe that women play worse is mostly held by men, women do not usually believe that they are inferior, or if they do - they believe that other women are inferior.

If someone believes that she can not be a great player because she is a woman - she can not be a great player, and not because of the stereotype, but because in her mind she classified herself as the average.....If on the other hand she doesn't get an equal opportunity because of being a woman that is something to be fixed, but ladies event certainly dont deny equal opportunity for women.
About getting best people - "Best people" is an extremely subjective definition, which personally I dont like to use. We always get the best people according to our measuring scale.... objectivity of measuring scale or its relevance or inclusiveness are debatable. We define"best people" as those who rose to the top of that scale, so by definition we do get them.
Posted ImageYu
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"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
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#11 User is online   SimonFa 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 03:43

View Postsfi, on 2012-May-27, 03:25, said:

Surely these are reasons for women's events. There is no reason they or any other group of bridge players can play in the highest standard game around. But if this is the standard they want to achieve then it's worth accommodating the clients.


Fair enough, but isn't this the same argument for running men's, gays, blocks only events?

The argument in the OP is that these events reinforce stereotypes and not a good thing.
Still looking for a regular real world partner to play 2/1 or SAYC in Dorset area, willing to travel.
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#12 User is online   SimonFa 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 03:52

View PostYu18772, on 2012-May-27, 03:40, said:


If someone believes that she can not be a great player because she is a woman - she can not be a great player, and not because of the stereotype, but because in her mind she classified herself as the average.....If on the other hand she doesn't get an equal opportunity because of being a woman that is something to be fixed, but ladies event certainly dont deny equal opportunity for women.
Posted ImageYu


I tend to agree with you, except...

How do you prove it wasn't the stereotype in the first place?

BTW I put this up for general discussion not to defend either argument. As I said in the OP I have no strong opinions, which is unusual for me :)
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#13 User is offline   Yu18772 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 04:45

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-27, 03:52, said:

I tend to agree with you, except...

How do you prove it wasn't the stereotype in the first place?

BTW I put this up for general discussion not to defend either argument. As I said in the OP I have no strong opinions, which is unusual for me :)


Posted Image That the stereotype in the first place made her believe that she cant? Because if she thinks that, she admits to herself that she is not exceptional among women, and thats not because of the stereotype but a matter of self esteem.
If one bases aspirations on a collective understanding about a group one belongs to, they admit and accept that they cant outcompete that group or be better than the best performing individual in that group, otherwise that collective understanding would have no bearing. When someone tells a woman "women cant play well" thats their problem, but if a woman thinks in response "oh, so I cant play well" that means she accepts the stereotype as true, and also thinks that there is no reason why she might beat it - and this what holds her back, not the existence of stereotype.

Posted ImageYu


Yehudit Hasin

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
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#14 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 05:09

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-May-27, 03:43, said:

Fair enough, but isn't this the same argument for running men's, gays, blocks only events?

The argument in the OP is that these events reinforce stereotypes and not a good thing.


Yes, or seniors only events. I played in one once and although I encountered some very good players I didn't much care for it. And you have a point, part of my thinking was that I just didn't care for a setting that seemed to define me as not up for playing in an open field. I am not fantasizing that I have a good chance against the strongest players, but I prefer not to be protected from the competition.

But that's my choice. Others choose differently and I have no great need to impose my views on them. A bunch of guys banishing Ladies Only events as a way of protecting the Ladies is a bit weird.

PS I do take my senior discount at Burger King and Dairy Queen. But it's silly.
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#15 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 05:18

View Postkenberg, on 2012-May-27, 05:09, said:

PS I do take my senior discount at Burger King and Dairy Queen. But it's silly.


Its not silly, its price discrimination, and it makes the market more efficient.

Traditionally, seniors had less disposal income than folks in their prime earning years.
Senior discounts let companies attract customers that might other decide that they should make their own coffee / burgers.
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#16 User is offline   jmc 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 23:00

I sincerely believe that what primarily keeps women only events alive in the ACBL is money for women playing as pros on teams in women's events.
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-May-27, 23:06

Women's events in the ACBL are barely alive, anyway. How big was the field in the last Wager?

#18 User is offline   phil_20686 

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Posted 2012-May-28, 04:21

"Women who want equality lack ambition"
Timothy Leary
The physics is theoretical, but the fun is real. - Sheldon Cooper
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#19 User is offline   Bbradley62 

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Posted 2012-May-28, 07:30

View Postbarmar, on 2012-May-27, 23:06, said:

Women's events in the ACBL are barely alive, anyway. How big was the field in the last Wager?

17 teams. Did the creation of the mini-Spingold events in 2001 lead to the downfall of the Wagar?
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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-May-28, 11:41

The ACBL still allows Unmixed pairs events. I've never seen one.
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