The uphill battle for equality
Yesterday, I posted this photo:
Being a female in the male dominated field, the decades long battle continues!
A man ignorantly posted this comment:
What battle? Against whom? No one is preventing women from learning or playing chess.
He went on to say many more stupid things.
Another man posted a few days ago:
Any day that a woman beats a man (in chess) is a bad day!
It was not long ago that I was severely punished for playing exclusively against men. Because I did not "listen" and play against players of my own gender, FIDE decided to give every woman 100 FREE rating points but me to take away my world #1 ranking which I achieved at age 15. My passport was also taken away so I could not travel and compete against the best in the world. After all, women are not supposed to play chess "well".
Then in spite of all odds, I became the first woman in history to qualify for the "Men's" World Championship cycle. I was not allowed to play because of my gender since this was the "Men's" World Championship. Eventually this was changed and everyone is now allowed to compete.
Even though I went on to be the first woman in history to earn the "Men's" Grandmaster title in January 1991 the same way men did (2500 rating and 3 GM norms), I still faced many other obstacles for the next few decades.
After retiring from competition in 2006 to focus on coaching, I once again experienced top level success. Many of my students are over 2600 and 2700 FIDE. They won World Championships, Olympiad Gold, countless National Titles and other big events. My SPICE men's division I chess team won a record 7 consecutive National Championships (2011-2012 with TTU and 2013-2017 with Webster University).
Because of this success, there were rumblings to create a rule to ban women from coaching men's division I teams. Déjà vu! Thankfully, that idea was dropped.
And if you compare my chess resume which includes world #1 ranking (top 3 for around 25 consecutive years), 1st ever, male or female, to win the Triple Crown (World Blitz, Rapid, and Classical Championships), Olympiad Medals (5 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze), and many more records, I am not in the Chess Hall of Fame while some men with not even 10% of my accomplishments were inducted years or decade ago. I was even told by some of the board members of the US Chess Federation that the only way I would ever get into the Hall of Fame is if I buy a ticket to enter.
This battle has still not ended. It is still a long way up for women.