The ‘battle of the sexes’ was often referred to during the 1970s. Darts was not immune from the changes that were flowing through society and Darts World regularly featured pieces such as the one below. As we moved through 1975 and into 1976 it seems we were struggling to balance the changes in society with the commercial realities of the time.
Regardless of the views expressed in the above article, it’s is obvious from our archive that Darts World was regularly covering issues similar to these. Whether it was an entry to clubs, open events or leagues. Yet there is an uncomfortable truth to be acknowledged.
Whilst the inside pages of the magazine were reporting on these issues, often in a pro-equality way, the covers and adverts within often conformed to the crude stereotypes of the time. Whether it was the ‘pin-up’ style cover versions (trust us the one below is one of the tamer ones) or the use of women as promotional props in adverts and articles
It’s strange to look back as see that the prevailing narrative seems to have moved, from a huge effort to get Women players equal treatment, to an effort to artificially build the Women’s game and now back again. These issues will be looked at in an upcoming edition of Darts World magazine but it seems safe to assume that there will be more to come.
To our credit, Darts World seems to have always covered Women’s competitive darts extensively and supported the widening of the game generally. As time went on the use of such ‘glamour’ images went out of fashion and became less prominent.
Within a few years of this cover, Maureen Flowers was featured on the front cover, as a player, like any other. From then on you can trace definite, if slow progress toward the current position.
The huge efforts of Flowers, Solomans, Batten, Hedman, Gulliver, Anastasia, Ashton, and Sherrock (with many others) have ensured that the profile of women in darts, and Darts World, and the credit given has grown year on year.
But it should also be noted that our coverage of the millions of women who play league, superleague, County darts or who have served on boards and as officials, for nearly half a century, may well be just as useful as the higher-profile names and faces.