After the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for protesting the sexist uniform standards by competing in shorts, there’s been a new focus on the inequity between men’s and women’s sports uniforms in general.
The conversation has been taken one step further by the Olympic gymnastics team from Germany: they chose to wear statement-making full-length unitards to their qualifying competition to put the spotlight on sexism in their sports, and women’s sports overall.
The German team, made up of Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schafer, Sarah Voss, and Kim Bui decided to wear long-legged and long-sleeved unitards during their preliminary rounds at the Summer Olympics.
This is what Sietz told Reuters:
“We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to wear the normal leotard anymore. It is a decision day by day, based on how we feel and what we want. On competition day, we will decide what to wear.”
Under the rules, men and women can wear unitards with long pants, so it’s important to note that these uniforms for women gymnasts are not against the rules – but they’re rather uncommon.
Sietz wrote on Instagram that the team wanted to set an example by wearing a new type of suit and give voices to athletes who ‘may feel uncomfortable or even sexualized in normal suits’.