When the horses go to the post for this weekend's Belmont, NBC New York noted Thursday, there will be no female jockeys aboard any of them. The last woman to ride in the race was Rosie Napravnik in 2014 aboard General a Rod. In fact, just 8 percent of riders in North America are female.
Some jockeys say they believe the numbers are so low due to rampant discrimination and sexual harassment in the sport. Several female riders spoke to NBC about their experiences at the track; one was forced to take out a restraining order against a fellow jockey who began stalking her and still had to ride alongside him. Others were specifically told by trainers and agents they would be passed over for jobs because of their gender. Women in these positions are unwilling to complain to officials because they feel they will lose work, experience other retaliation, or have their claims ignored.
“To survive,” rider Erica Murray told NBC, “you have to keep your mouth shut and keep chugging along.”
Others say they haven't experienced harassment or discrimination during their riding careers and pointed out that flirting and catcalling are not limited to the racetrack. Retired rider Donna Barton-Brothers suggested part of the reason there aren't more female riders could be the disappearance of small and mid-level tracks, which increases competition in larger colonies and makes it harder for new riders to rise up.
Read more at NBC New York
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