In some competitions, a man’s greater physical strength is irrelevant, such as chess or billiards. Yet tournaments are hosted for women only. How is this justified? Or is it that the women can’t beat the men?
—Randal P., St. Louis, Missouri
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Both these pursuits were invented by men and have a long history of male interest and involvement. Women have only recently begun to even consider participation, and they may never find them compelling enough to join in large numbers. Note that 85 percent of the members of the U.S. Chess Federation are male. Hosting events for women may be a well-intentioned effort to encourage more female activity, but they imply inferiority, which is inherently damaging.
Related: What Are Marilyn’s Chess Tips?