Divya Deshmukh, a prominent 18-year-old female chess player from India, has taken a bold stand against the prevalent sexism and misogyny in the world of chess. After the recent Tata Steel Chess tournament in the Dutch coastal town of Wijk Aan Zee, Divya expressed her frustration with the constant scrutiny of her appearance and the lack of focus on her games and skills.
In an Instagram post, she highlighted the disparaging comments and sexist behavior she has endured as a young player, stating, “the sad truth is that when women play chess, they overlook how good they are, their games and strength”.
The organizers of the Tata Steel Chess tournament issued a statement in support of Divya, acknowledging the sexist comments she has faced and reaffirming their commitment to promoting women in chess and ensuring a safe and equal sporting environment.
Despite the challenges she has encountered, Divya Deshmukh has demonstrated remarkable talent in the game. In the tournament, she achieved notable victories, including a win against a player with a significantly higher rating than hers.
Divya’s experience reflects the broader issue of sexism and gender inequality in the chess community. Women players, who constitute a minority in the field, often face social and cultural barriers, leading to a higher drop-out rate among female chess enthusiasts. Divya emphasized that the problem of sexism in chess is deeply rooted in gender stereotypes and the pervasive nature of cyber hate and online trolling.
Her courageous decision to speak out against sexism in chess is a significant step towards advocating for equality and respect for women players. Divya Deshmukh aims to pave the way for future generations of female chess players, ensuring that they do not have to endure the same discriminatory treatment that she has faced.
Divya Deshmukh Remarks Demand Urgent Attention
The challenges highlighted by Divya Deshmukh shed light on the urgent need to address gender inequality and discrimination in the world of chess, and her advocacy for change resonates beyond the board, inspiring a broader conversation about equality in the sport
The Indian chess community and the global chess fraternity have an opportunity to rally behind Divya Deshmukh‘s cause and work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in chess, where their skills and achievements are celebrated without being overshadowed by gender-based prejudice and discrimination.
The courage and resilience displayed by Divya Deshmukh in confronting sexism in chess serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of challenging entrenched biases and advocating for a more equitable and inclusive future for all chess players, regardless of gender.