Women given Boat Race equality from 2015

Oxford and Cambridge universities will hold their women's boat race on the same day and course as the men's event from 2015.

Women given Boat Race equality from 2015
Women given Boat Race equality from 2015

The women’s race usually takes place at Henley a week before men’s race but will now be moved to the tideway course on the Thames under new sponsor BNY Mellon, whose sister company Newton has sponsored the women’s race since 2011.

More than 300,000 people watch the men’s race from the banks of the Thames each March or April, while around 7,000 attend the women’s race at Henley.

A Boat Race Company Spokesperson told Event: "The move has been in discussion with the clubs for quite a while, but it’s definitely been facilitated by the fact that this new sponsorship makes it possible to combine the races."

They added that organisers expect visitor numbers to increase when the race days combine: "We know that at least 7,000 people get down to watch the Henley boat race every year, so that shows the interest in watching the women racing. We would expect the event to grow because it is going to be enhanced with more racing and more excitement."

Races need to be held on the incoming tide and it is not yet clear whether the women’s race will take place before or after the men’s reserve team race between Oxford’s Isis boat and Cambridge’s Goldie boat.

"The logistics of that haven’t been worked out yet and that’s part of the reason why it’s going to take until 2015 to get the women onto the river," said the spokesperson. "It’s almost certain that the men’s race will stay at the same time and that the women’s race will be before it, but whether that’s before or after the Isis and Goldie race has yet to be decided."

Gerald Hassell, chief executive officer of BNY Mellon, said: "We are pleased that Newton’s continued support of the women’s race is to bring parity to the sport. Being able to bring the women’s race to the same stretch of river on the same day for the first time is a significant milestone, and will enhance the experience for everyone. This is good for rowing, for gender equality, and for sport as a whole."

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