On one hand, there feels like there should be something symbolic about a woman being appointed to the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission. On the other, we can’t argue with reality: the appointment of Carmen Jorda is going to hurt women in Motorsports.
Jorda, who competed in the GP3 series for three seasons without ever managing to qualify within the top 20, has earned the ire of many of her fellow female racers for her stance in believing that women should compete in their own championship – due to being unable to keep up with male racers.
The irony is both rich and tragic, and female racers have wasted no time in stepping forward to air their complaints. Among them, IndyCar racer Pippa Mann succinctly summed up just why Jorda’s appointment has stirred so many pots:
“Against this backdrop of current and rising female racing talent, it is extremely disappointing to learn that a racer with no notable results in any of the categories in which she has competed, and who believes and is quoted as saying that she does not believe we as female racers can compete, has been appointed to the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.
To me personally, the appointment of someone with these core beliefs, to a committee meant to further the cause of women in racing, is incredibly disheartening, and represents a true step backwards from the FIA.” – Pippa Mann
There’s really no denying Mann’s sentiment. The fact that a woman is a proponent of keeping female championships segregated only rubs salt in the wound – and to have one who arguably never managed to effectively compete against her own sex is laughable.
Female athletes have long had to endure segregated series and championships, and while many of those had arguments grounded in the fact that male and female physiology greatly differs, attempting to apply the same logic to Motorsports is ridiculous.
What exactly holds a woman back from racing against her male counterparts? Her muscles are far too “dainty” to get the same performance out of her car as the men do? Or is it perhaps that their “feeble female mind” will simply lose focus on the race and think of other things, like doing the laundry – right? Please.
We’ve gone far enough through unnecessarily segregating and dividing athletes based on meaningless factors such as sex. If we truly wanted to see a competition of the best against the best, then we would have an all-inclusive championship, now wouldn’t we?
Although they would never admit it, this move from the FIA stinks up to high heaven. Jorda’s appointment can hardly be seen to come from a place of merit, and we’re tempted to believe that whatever true reasons lie behind her promotion have more to do with pushing Motorsports to generate more revenue through additional series than they have with putting women on an equal pedestal with men.