A few days ago, Australian rider Sharni Pinfold announced that she would be leaving the world of racing as a result of having been subjected to derogatory treatment.
In her lengthy social media post, Sharni underlined how difficult it was to start her career and secure a contract to compete in the IDM Supersport 300 championship. Having taken up racing following her father’s death, Sharni took full responsibility for herself and worked free for years, selling everything she had and sacrifying "many things. My happiness, my lifestyle, my family, my mental health and my physical health. I felt that racing was the only meaning I had to my life, and so it seemed like a small price to pay”, she wrote.
Lack of respect
“Throughout my journey in motorsport, I have experienced and been exposed to many challenges, some that I struggle to even speak about. Most of the challenges I have faced have been sourced from the lack of respect and derogatory treatment of women. Things that I know that I would have never had to experience or be exposed to if I was male”, concluded Sharni in her post.
Her words did not go unnoticed by the International Motorcycling Federation, which has now issued an official release to state that it is “closely monitoring the situation following the statement made on social media by the Australian rider Sharni Pinfold, which aroused strong emotions within the motorcycling community”.
“Gender equality is a core value for the FIM, which constantly strives to ensure the well-being of all riders and stakeholders. The FIM was upset to hear the news and takes the statement made by Ms. Pinfold very seriously. The FIM and the Australian Motorcycling Federation have maintained close contact with the young rider to understand the facts which led Sharni to such discouragement. We would like to stress that Sharni Pinfold can count on the unconditional support of the FIM to overcome this challenge”, writes the FIM.
The FIM against discrimination
The FIM recalls that the practice of motorcycling is open to all without discrimination and condemns any form of behavior contrary to these values. Since 2006 the FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission (CFM) has been working hard to create equal opportunities and promote equal treatment for women involved in motorcycle-related activities.
“The FIM does not accept any kind of discrimination towards our riders, regardless of their gender. We are one motorcycling family, everyone is welcome. No inappropriate or disturbing comments or actions shall be tolerated. We aim at supporting all riders and enabling them to pursue their dreams and keep their motivation high. The FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission, together with the FIM and its stakeholders, continue to work hard to improve gender equality in our sport at all levels", concluded the CFM Director, Ms Nita Korhonen.
Sharni: "The goal is equality"
“From experiencing what I have in my own journey, my wish is that I am able to contribute to the awareness of disrespectful and misogynistic treatment towards females”, commented Sharni. “I truly hope I am able to encourage the much needed improvement throughout the motorcycle industry and all industries where females are treated differently. This is not just me, there are many other women that have been treated poorly and as a result I hope to be able to empower others to know the importance and value of self-worth.
“It would be easy for me to sit back and point fingers at the people responsible, but I feel that true strength is determined by how we respond. I am not here to be a victim, I am here to stand for what is right and extend that message outwardly for all women. I am grateful for the support and for the measures taken by the FIM, with the clear focus being equality for all. This is what we stand for”, concludes Pinfold.
Translated by Heather Watson