Joanne Missingham protests against discrimination

Joanne Missingham 5p, who plays Go professionally under her Chinese name, Hei Jiajia, was recently spotted carrying an unusual paper fan at her games.

Joanne Missingham fights discrimination 300x426 picture

Joanne Missingham shows fan inscribed with 'protest gender discrimination'.

Upon closer inspection, the fan is inscribed with ‘protest against gender discrimination’ in Chinese calligraphy.

Why Joanne Missingham is protesting

The incident that sparked this protest was the recent 2nd Qiandeng Cup, a friendly tournament between Chinese and Taiwanese professionals.

On August 23 2011, the men’s division proceeded as scheduled, however, four players mysteriously withdrew from the women’s division.

It turned out that the Taiwanese Go Association were paying male players 2000 Yuan per game, while female players were not paid at all.

Furthermore, the tournament only awarded prize money to the male division but not the female division.

Female Go players protest against unequal pay

This made several female players so angry that they withdrew from play in protest. When asked to comment on the incident, the Taiwanese Go Association stated that since male players were selected to play in the tournament and female players were ‘free to enter’ the tournament, they would only award game fees and prize money to male players.

This seems very unreasonable as female Go professionals must also make a living, just like their male counterparts. In Asia, more and more women are receiving the highest levels of education and entering the workforce in numbers never seen before. So why the distinction between male and female players in this particular tournament?

Joanne Missingham protests vs Ding Wei picture

Joanne Missingham (5 dan, left) holds protest fan during a game with Ding Wei (9 dan).

A common issue in sport

The issue of unequal prize money between men and women is common and controversial in sports. Tennis is one example. For years some argued that since men play best of 5 sets and women play best of 3 sets in Gram Slams, a difference in prize money was justified.

Women were finally given prize money equality in Wimbledon in 2007.

However in the next tier of tournaments such as the Rome Masters and Cincinnati Open, women and men both play best of 3 sets, and yet the prize money still differs.

Do you think this is fair?

What do you think? Should men and women receive different prize money in Go? What about other sports? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Although she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru. You can find Jing on Google+ and follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Comments

  1. In a perfect world, there would be equal prize money. But this money isn’t given by some benevolent fund; sports is a business. If women draw fewer spectators, sponsors and lower TV rights than men, for whatever reason, then, yes, they should get less money.

    There are sports, such as tennis, where women can draw a lot of spectators, and they should fight to get more. But my guess is the top professionals aren’t naive, and know how much money there is for purses.

    One solution could be to pool the money for both men and women then divide it up. Would that work in practice? I don’t know. Again, if the men draw the spectators and sponsors, they’re the ones who deserve more.

    • That’s a fair point kirkmc. Professional Go would share the business pressures that exist in other sports and I think what we don’t know for sure is whether women draw their fair share of spectators or not.

      Some players like Joanne have a considerable following and while we can assume she wouldn’t have the fans that top players like Lee Sedol have, she may have more fans than many other male players. Those fans may also represent different demographics, so it doesn’t just come down to raw numbers for advertisers.

      Finally, I wonder whether there aren’t certain values, like equality, that we should recognize as being more important than economic forces. And are we allowing economics to be an excuse for a patriarchal culture in Asia?

      • You make one important point: it’s an Asian cultural issue, and we in the West can’t really impose our beliefs. While we have improved equality between women in men in the West, we have a long way to go, and Asia has even further to go.

        If go were played more widely in the world, it’s possible that such equality could be fostered more easily, but it is played professionally only in Asia, so our Western attitudes really don’t apply.

    • I disagree with this. If the people hosting the tournament cannot afford to pay both sexes equally, then they should not host it at all, or host without reward.

      Now, you might say, “if there is no prize money, how do you expect to attract professional Go players?”. Very well, make it so that there is prize money – but make it so that the women’s section get the same prize as men’s. They may have to offer lower individual prize money for both categories, but the best tournaments will still be offering the most money. Not to mention that the best tournaments still have prestige and history associated with the title.

      Professional Go players play Go because they love the game, not money. They work hard every day to be the best player they can be, not because they want to become rich. Go transcends money, and it transcends sex, too.

      In 2008, the winner of the Korean High Cup Baduk Championship, Lee Sedol, was awarded about $93,100. The average wage in South Korea is about $27,700. Go is big money. Big enough that the prizes can be shared equally with the female players and still attract the best.

      There is no excuse for such flagrant sexism, and it is good to see a young and popular female Go player such as Joanne Missingham making this statement clear to the playing world.

      • If it is an open tournament where all players were invited, everyone deserves a shot at the prize. It does not sound like this tournament was set up that way. “The male pros’s were selected”, the ladies were not. -> It was a tournament for the people selected.
        If there is a woman’s tournament should they be required to let men enter, and compete for the prize? No, cause the rules say it is a ladies turnament.
        If gender equality is the goal, how is it that tournaments give awards to “top female finisher”, even if the lady does not finish first in the tournament? The rules provide for a top female finisher? The top female finisher should get the reward.

        Rules should be set PRIOR to the turnament… If you don’t like the rules, don’t play. Maybe start an outcry for another turnament instead? Of course, if this was a last minute “adjustment”, that is an entirely different story.

        just my 2cents

        • I think the issue is not that the rules are set firs or not… we’re not talking about prizes either, but about payment per game… why do you then pay male players but not female players? If only selected players get payed does it mean women don’t get a chance at payment because there are to few women to make a selection process? It seems unfair anyway

    • My experience at the European Go Congresses is that the women players get the most spectators

  2. Alvaro Lopez says:

    What I really don’t understand is why are two divisions needed… why cannot they play/compete all together? Are not we all equals?

    If someone has a good explanation for that issue I would apreciate a short summary.

    Thanks!!

    • Because if women and men had to compete equally in Go very few, if any, women would ever reach the final stages of tournaments. You could say, fine, then so be it. But the idea of letting women play in tournaments without having to qualify as in the above example or have them play in separate tournaments is a strategy to make the game more attractive to women. Whether this is good or not, I don’t know, but this should work as the short explanation you asked for.

      Cheers

      • Alvaro Lopez says:

        Thank you!

        I still don’t agree, but I can see it clearer now! ^_^

        • There are separate Go tournaments for women, but I believe most other tournaments are open. Usually female players don’t make it to the finals of these, partly because there are so few women in Go compared to men. Rui Naiwei won the 43rd Kuksu, defeating Cho Hunhyun, and she is a notable exception here.

    • Looking at it this way, Gender need not be invoked to explain the situation.

      Prize Money:
      If a tournament is open to all, it should pay all equally. If a tournament is restricted to a subset of the field, it should pay less than an open tournament.

      Game Fees:
      If a tournament is open to an unlimited number of participants, it’s entirely reasonable not to offer a game fee, since attendance is unknown. If however a tournament is by invitation only, it is of course the case that you want to entice the participants to accept your invitation (both so you don’t have to find replacements, and because you invited them believing that they are the best qualified). In that case a game fee is reasonable.

      It sounds like the women’s tournament was restricted field with an unbounded number of entries, and the mens was invitation only.

      The only gender issue I see from the facts presented here is the question of whether any specific women should have been invited to the “mens” tournament. One would have to look at the play records in open tournaments, but I suspect there are no appropriate candidates in Taiwan/China. If Korea were involved Rui Naiwei might be a candidate for example. Another question is why the women’s tournament wasn’t invitation only, but by implication the reason may be that there are fewer women players and it may be hard to fill an invitation only field. (or not…?) These things are not discussed in the article and so there may (or may not) still be a gender issue lurking.

      What isn’t confirmed or denied is whether or not the women were led to believe that they were to be payed as well. Misleading people is of course wrong regardless of gender.

      • Why make different rules for the tournaments then? why not make invitatioons-only for both men and women? In this case everyone is clear about the number of participants allowed and in fact if women know they will be payed they will certainly enter, or so I guess…

  3. Sjoerd Jochems says:

    I think men and women should be treated equally in sports, because they both try very hard to achieve their levels of skill. You can’t say: “just because you’re stronger, phyiscally, you should earn more.” It should be noted, however, that in the tennis grands slams you talk about in the article, men and women do get equally paid. For example in the now played US Open, men and women get the same amound of money ($1,800,000) for winning the tournament or less if they lose in earlier rounds.

    • Thanks for your comment Sjoerd. I didn’t mean to imply that women still aren’t paid equally in Grand Slams, they finally changed that in 2007. However, in the Rome Masters and Cincinnati Open, which I gave as examples, the prize money is still unequal. I’ve updated the article to make that clearer. :)

  4. I think it is only fair to women to be paid, even if not in the same manner as men (in this specific case), as both sides are made entirely of professional players – the free to enter and selected players being the only difference in payment.

    • That’s the real point isn’t it? It’s not just that they’re getting paid unevenly. They weren’t going to pay the women at all! :(

      • Did the ladies know up front that they were not going to get paid? Or were they told at the last minute? If this was a last minute change of the rules, that realy sucks. If this was something known prior to everybody going to the turnament, then its a contrived situation.

        • David Ormerod says:

          I strongly doubt that they knew ahead of time, though we will have to ask to know for sure. I think the fact that you saw all women withdrawing at the last minute tends to indicate that they didn’t know before that.

          I’d like to interview Joanne for Go Game Guru at some point, but she’s been very busy for the last few months. Right now, I think she’s under enough pressure and doesn’t need us annoying her. If you believe in the general principle of what she’s standing for, then at the moment I’m sure she’d appreciate your support and encouragement.

          Don’t think that this isn’t being discussed in other languages in other parts of the internet. And not everyone is as polite (regardless of their point of view) as the readers here have been. What’s she’s done is very brave, especially for a 17 year old.

          This issue is much bigger than just withdrawing from or holding a fan at a single game. Maybe if I get a chance to ask her later, we can clarify some of the details for you.

  5. i think men and women are the same . because each stone is the determination of all players, sacrifices, and efforts ^_^

  6. 1 vote for female go pros, good luck to you all!

  7. Of course men and women should be treated equally – but that is assuming that they play at the same level, i.e. they are equal in strength, but in most cases they are not.

    But there are more things to consider. For instance female professional players is a rather “new” concept (at least comparatively); therefore tradition makes the go scene a male dominated world. In order for this to change (if that is what you want) one possible strategy is to encourage women to play in separate tournaments if they desire to do so. This might help form a climate that is more women-friendly and in time help shift the balance to a more balanced mix of men and women playing in the same tournaments.

    • The fact that female Go players have only been allowed to become professionals recently, as you say, is likely one reason why you don’t see more women in high profile matches.

      The ratio of men to women pursuing careers in Go is still very skewed. With so few female professionals it’s statistically unlikely that you’d see women reaching the finals or winning titles regularly.

      I think the approach of having separate tournaments for women does help as a transitional arrangement, but all players need to have opportunities to challenge top players too, if they are going to raise the level of their game.

      The current arrangement was not so bad, if you ignore the wider societal discrimination (especially in Asia) that women have to endure, but deciding not to pay women at all seems like a retrograde step…

  8. You have male inseis and female inseis, both fighting _together_ to become pros, haven’t you? So, as the path is the same and most of all the exam is the same, when you become pro you’re a pro. That’s it. There’s no point in having separate tournaments, and so in having different prizes.

    Fullstop.

    • You’re right man! They’ve both studied in the same class, they both took the exams together, they fought each other in becoming a pro. If they can’t reach the top, it is simply because they’re not strong enough not because that they’re women. A pro is a pro, no women or men. In the front of a goban all that matters is your determination to win, there are no place for soft people in the Go world.

      • Totally agree! and how can they improve to top, if they dont play with top players? (sorry for my badenglish)

        • I agree you three. All Go players need the opportunity to play against the best if they want to get better. I do think the female only tournaments have some value in the short term though, because they help to encourage more women to play Go and earn a living.

          Once the number of men and women who play Go is more balanced, I don’t think there will be any point in having female only tournaments anymore though.

      • actually i believe that the pro exams are not the same (played separately by males and females) and therefore neither the levels of play are. so i think it depends – if you have an ‘open’ and ‘female’ division, it is fair to give more money for the ‘open’. if you have ‘male’ and ‘female’ division, then you should make the prizes equal
        giving females no money at all is really an extreme and i sincerely sympathetise with Joanne and other females in their protest

      • WingWongBong says:

        It’s not that simple. The entire Go world is biased towards the growth and success of male players. This fact is probably most clearly reflected in the difference in money awarded to male and female players; but the bias is more deeper and systemic than that, and is born from deep-seated historical and cultural values.

        By saying that all that matters is one’s strength in Go, yet acknowledging there are far less female players than male, you are labelling female players as weak. Unknowingly, you are contributing to the patriarchical mindset that pervades the game, and displaying clear evidence of the obstacles women must overcome to be treated as equals in this game.

        Women are as capable at Go as men, but whilst men enjoy a position of priviledge in the game, women must fight the invisible barriers of predjudice constantly just to try and compete. They are fighting a completely different battle on top of what lies in the game, and only when they can enjoy the same position of priviledge as men will they be able to prove their equal capability in the same number as men.

        • Your conclusion does not follow. You have mad a logical error.

          All that matters is strength
          Fewer players are female

          These do not add up to females are weaker. Females may be less frequently interested in go to begin with (for reasons entirely external to the Go community).

          To argue that females are weaker you would need to compare the distribution of ranks vs the total time played by male professionals vs time played by female professionals. I suspect that not only are the number of female players fewer, the time invested per player is lower because (as noted) female pro’s are a newer phenomenon in many associations. Even so, because there is significant segregation in play you would still be unlikely to have comparable numbers. There is no useful evidence that females are weaker by nature, and what the poster said does not actually say so.

          • David Ormerod says:

            WingWongBong and Gus, I think you’ve both made some excellent and thoughtful points. Thanks for coming and sharing your thoughts with everyone here.

  9. I am just as interested in women’s go as men’s. Women should have equal opportunities within the sport to succeed.

  10. I think it is totally unfair for pro women to have to play in a tournament and not receive any money for it. It is a job what we’re talking about! If this happened in a normal job it would be considered a complete discrimination. Not only they have to play apart from men, but they don’t get the same pay as them just because women tournaments don’t get much attention? I think that if this is the case then it would be better to do mixed tournaments instead, this way all players should be payed for every game in the tournament, and not just male players. Maybe men would reach farther stages of the tournament, but at least women would be viewed as equals and they would have to receive the same payment. Or would they still only pay men even in mixed tournaments?

    • I totally agree Amanda. It’s insulting to do work and not get paid for it just because you’re a woman! And you’re right that it would be considered ridiculous in other occupations.

      Most tournaments these days are open, even though people still call them ‘men’s’ tournaments.

      When Rui Naiwei 9 dan was younger she went to Japan, but wasn’t allowed to play there professionally, even though she was easily strong enough. She had to play in the Ing Cup to show everyone how good she was and was eventually allowed to play professionally in Korea.

      Once she was in Korea she won the 43rd Kuksu, defeating the top male players in the world. Even though it’s one example, I think it shows that women can compete at the top level if they’re given a chance…

  11. It’s a thorny subject. The purpose of having female divisions is to encourage more females to study go and consider becoming professional players.

    If the female division doesn’t reward prize money, then it’s a determent to the purpose of having a female division in the first place, so these players are right to protest what happened.

  12. While I am supportive of her decision, I still find the details to be a bit fuzzy. It sound as if she and several other female pros dropped out on the 23rd, but she still ended up playing on the 29th, holding the protest fan. Could you clarify the order of events?

    • The competition on the 29th – that was a different competition. The non-paying female competition had to be cancelled because there were no participants.

  13. I think it nor fair to not paying the ladies, but paying slightly less is fine.

    Higher level players could always get a higher fee, or more famous one like me…different concert cost differently, same goes for boxing match, or golf tournaments.

    • So should men who don’t perform as well as other men be paid less for regular games too? Joanne regularly beats other men in Taiwan, so should she be paid more than them on that basis?

      The only fair thing is to pay everyone equally. Top players can earn more by winning more prize money, but when you don’t pay the other players you gradually undermine the level of the game.

  14. Where can I get one of those fans?

  15. Normally, the female pro players are paid for playing. So playing for nothing would set a bad precedent. But the discimination aspect is what upset Joanne. If neither the male nor females are paid, then there would be no discrimation. But there would need to be some special reason to ask professional players to play for free, and there were no special circumstances in this case.

    • Hi Errol, thanks for visiting the site and clarifying Joanne’s thoughts and the circumstances for us. Joanne has our support.

  16. As someone else pointed out, female tennis players ARE paid just as much as the males, much to the dismay of some male players, who think male tennis is more challenging and attractive. I’m an avid tennis fan. There are people who like female tennis for an aspect that I do not take into account. If organizers think this makes female tennis worthy of sponsoring equally as male tennis, that’s just fine. Reward in sports has everything to do with the popularity of the sport, very little with level.

    In physical sports it makes sense to separate male and female, although even that could be perceived as unfair: there is no separate professional division for basketball players shorter than 1m60. Then again, there are weight classes in boxing. Some sports differentiate, some don’t. I prefer separate gender competitions in physical sports and I would also like to see a pro basketball league with length limits. I’m sure you would see some spectacular stuff there.

    In Go, to have male and female compete in different tournaments boils down to stating that men are intrinsically smarter (at Go), or at least have a larger tradition. Whether separated or united, there seems not to be a big inflow of female professionals, so maybe we will have to admit some day that through more competitiveness and different brain structure, men are stronger in Go, on average. For now we can believe, be it a little awkwardly, it is only a matter of time before women catch up. I don’t really care which one is true, as long as women don’t require to be in separate tournaments AND be regarded as equally strong. The stance of Rui Naiwei has always been a correct one.

    Whatever the policy to attract or stimulate female professionals, not paying them isn’t very respectful or productive.

    • Hi Dieter, I corrected the article to make it clearer that while the Grand Slams now pay equal prize money to women, other events don’t. I’m a big fan of tennis too, by the way. :)

      With so many men playing Go compared to women, it’s not possible to say whether men are somehow intrinsically better at Go. As I said above, I think the results at the moment are what you’d expect given the numbers.

      Rui Naiwei is an outlier in the small population of female Go players, but she has demonstrated what women are capable of.

      If and when enough women play Go to balance out the numbers, we’ll see whether there is any validity to the ‘men are intrinsically better at Go’ argument. However before that happens there will need to be significant social changes in the major Go playing countries to put women on an equal footing from when they are young.

      • There has recently been a study of African tribes, one with a matriarchal structure another patriarchal, but genetically close. It turns out intellectual challenges are performed best by the gender in charge, although the bias is stronger in the patriarchal structure. It seems to point out that equal rights for education lead to equal (average) performance.

        In Belgium though, girls have overtaken boys in education for many years now, still they do not excel in competitive mind games. There could still possibly be a cultural factor that women are not expected to sacrifice family business for an awkward hobby or profession, as intellectual as it may be, but I think men are genetically more competitive, therefore stronger in mind games, on average and in terms of outliers. “We” simply care more about winning and losing, therefore will get the best out of our brain, even at the expense of social connections.

        I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong though!

    • I do not think having female only tournaments means admitting anything about a difference between women and men, save that fewer females currently play and that it would be desirable to encourage them.

      One example: in the US, there have been programs to encourage males to enter nursing, a field that has been considered feminine. There are few if any reasons males would make worse nurses, and it’s not as males are generally disadvantaged so that men in general need help. But I still think these programs are a good idea so long as they do encourage more men to enter the field.

      • David Ormerod says:

        Yes, and that’s a key point isn’t it? My understanding was always that the female only events existed to help make the transition from a male dominated profession. Exactly the same as males going into nursing as you’ve described.

        That being the case, the rest of the tournaments should be open, as there’s no reason to discriminate. All players should be paid a match fee, because that’s what normally happens and this is their job. I don’t think any of us here would appreciate being asked to do our jobs without being paid.

        Given these events though, it seems that my understanding was wrong. Or, at least different from that of some people who hold official positions in the world of Go.

  17. Even if men are on average more competitive and smarter in a Go-sense. One would think the women who choose a career in Go would be above average ^^;?

    Maybe one day we’ll have a separate Men’s tournament as well (to see who the strongest man is when women frequently reach the top of the normal tournaments).

    As the women are playing in a tournament with less competition, there is reason to pay them less. Why were the men ‘selected,’ and the women not selected though? Because Taiwan cared about them winning xD? If they didn’t miscalculate and people don’t care about the female division, then they shouldn’t hold it in the first place, and let the women fight to be selected next time : >

  18. TimothyAWiseman says:

    I am unclear as to why there are separate male and female divisions at all for Go. This is an arena that involves no physical contact and where biological differences are virtually irrelevant.

  19. VeniVidiCogitavi says:

    Aside from the issue of money, is there any concern over the idea of playing Go while holding up a protest sign? Is there precedent for this in professional Go? How far do we intend to take this new tradition?

    • I agree that this is an important question. It at least is a distraction to the other player so shouldn’t even be allowed. It’s also disrespectful to the game for a pro to use this opportunity to complain.

      • I don’t think the other player has to feel distracted because of what the fan says, unless he feels guilty about it. And I don’t really understand why a complain is somehow disrespectful to the game… could you clarify your reasons to say that?

        • The purpose of a protest sign is to stir up thoughts and inflame emotions. Playing Go should focus thoughts and tame emotions.

          Certainly it’s not new to have drama among Go players. But this should be left behind when you sit down at the goban; that is respect for the game. It is not the time to push an agenda, or ask for money.

          When one holds up a protest sign, it is to get attention. It’s not possible to say it will get everyone’s attention except your opponent’s. Of course it will be a distraction. It does not make it right to say that it’s OK to distract them because they should be ashamed to disagree with you on some topic. Please shame them another time, not during a tournament.

          • But if you do not feel guilty about it why would your emotions be stirred? The fan is not for her opponent to see, its for the world to know. And how does the world know that she is holding a protest sign? Because she shows it in the escenario where it has influence, in this case during her go games. If she stands in front of a building with a faan she won’t get half the attention she is getting now… It is the way she chose to protest.

            And in another topic, if playing go should get you in focus that shouldn’t depend on your opponent. You have to focus on your own because there will always be distracting factors: maybe he bounces in the chair when he is nervous, or growls in the middle of a play, or mutters stuff or curses. Even pro players do that. What do you do in such a case? You focus yourself and ignore your opponent. That’s why I think the fan can’t be regarded as an instrument to distract a rival… you can only get distracted in Go if you let yourself get distracted.

            • VeniVidiCogitavi says:

              Actually, I can think of many other reasons why his emotions might be stirred. Just for one: perhaps he’s worried that the pictures will give people the impression that her protest is directed at him personally for something he did – making him look like a misogynist when he’s not.

              But I would also ask a couple of questions that I ask myself when I’m trying to decide the correctness of an action:

              1) What if it were reversed? Suppose a male player were to hold up a sign during a tournament game that said “Women should not be allowed to play Go” – would that still be OK? Should we just tell the women to ignore it? Or is the reasoning only valid when the protest sign is something you agree with?

              2) Where does it stop? Should pros be able to do anything during a tournament game, as long as that’s the most effective place to do it? Should they bring rally posters for their favorite political figures, and hold them up during games? Should they sell advertising space, and hold up signs during tournament games for whichever product has paid the most?

              The path that Ms. Missingham is treading seems to lead to the Westernization of Go, and frankly I don’t find it appealing at all.

              • First of all, the reason to worry. I do not believe that if her rival somehow becomes the target of attacks, because of the fan, Joanne wouldn’t say a thing about it. Her protest isn’t against him, and if reporters start diverting the target she will correct them. I do not believe her rivals have anything to worry about in this case, it’s not like she is trying to build a show around herself without any reason at all. There is a point behind her actions.

                Secondly, I believe everyone is entitled to stand up for the ideology they believe in. Speaking as a female go player, I would be outraged by such a fan as the one you describe, but I would play go against him with all the strength I have, just to prove his point wrong :) . What I’m trying to say is, you can hold the phrase you want, which doesn’t mean others will read it, pay attention to it or be moved by its content. If they do, then you have to stand up for your ideas and explain your point, as Joanne did in her case.

                And lastly, should players be allowed to use whatever they like while they play? I guess we have to leave that for tournament rules to decide. If beforehand it is decided that no protest fans are allowed, then something like what Joanne did couldn’t happen. Or if advertising during a match is prohibited then no one can expect to see comercial ads during a match. But if these rules do not previously exist then you can’t blame players for doing things they believe will help them, their careers or their future somehow. It becomes a matter of free will. Of course, their rivals are also entitled to say they don’t like this behavior, and discuss it until an agreement is achieved. I believe things can be solved rationally by talking and not just by assuming certain things might happen without actually seeing them happen.

                • VeniVidiCogitavi says:

                  Well, I give you credit for consistency, but we’re just going to have to disagree on this point. I think that we should hold ourselves to a standard of behavior higher than “whatever gets me what I want” or even “whatever doesn’t have an explicit rule against it yet.” And certainly I wish for a level of consideration greater than “If you don’t like what I do, then you’re just too sensitive.” I’d always found Go players to be a considerate bunch, and I’m saddened to see the pros leading the game in this direction.

                  • Yes, I think we do disagree… the reason I defend her behavior so much is because I believe there is a good reason behind her actions. If it is a matter of being considerate, then why don’t men demonstrate consideration and diagree on being payed while women as strong as them aren’t payed? Is that considerate? Should this injustice be ignored because it’ll ruin the image some people have of pro’s being almost gods, unstoppable and emotionless? Joanne isn’t doing this out of selfishness, but out of a desire to not be considered inferior to her colleagues just because she is a woman.

                    I wouldn’t be so keen on defending her if her fan said “Coca cola rules!”, that I can assure you :P

                    • So the rule for you is as long as you are in favor of the cause, it’s ok? Who appointed you? :) You consider it injustice, but someone who grew up in a different culture might consider her cause an outrage. What if that person were “appointed”?

                      If you are about to argue “everyone knows what she is doing is good” – that’s presumption of the conclusion, which is only valid logic in the land of radio talk show hosts :) .

                      Would you turn it into a popularity contest? What if you lost the contest and she was required to hold a fan that says “Men *should* get paid more”. Welcome to the pitfalls of mob mentality.

                      When faced with a question of the correctness of actions that push forward a cause that one has a personal attachment to, it is best to imagine the person were advancing the opposite cause, and then ask yourself if you would still defend their “rights.”

                      In matters of policy we must watch our hearts closely. If we ignore our heart completely we will not see when the rules are broken, unjust and need fixing. If we follow our hearts blindly we are likely to write rules that are unjust and broken, because we will forget to respect those who disagree.

          • David Ormerod says:

            Hi Zhou, thanks for sharing your opinion with us.

            As Amanda says, they’re pro Go players. They’ve practiced controlling their emotions for many years. I remember reading somewhere that Cho Hunhyun had an old habit of singing children’s songs in Japanese while he was thinking. That is surely much more distracting than just holding a fan.

            And in any case, how do you know that Ding Wei doesn’t agree with her? My observation from visiting mainland China several times is that women there tend to be treated more fairly than in neighboring states. Isn’t that your experience? The argument isn’t with Ding, it’s with officials at the Taiwanese Go Association.

            As Go players, we all know that you should choose the most effective move possible to achieve your goals. Otherwise what’s the point? Out of all the possible options, Joanne chose a relatively quiet and polite way to make her point known. Even if you don’t agree with her, she’s still entitled to her own opinion.

      • It’s always been quite common for players to hold fans (albeit not necessarily with protest messages written on them) – probably a legacy from pre-air conditioning times and humid summer days.

  20. Marty Lund says:

    Women shouldn’t be forced to play in female-only Go tournaments. If they can qualify based on strength to compete in an open field then they should be paid exactly the same as their male counter-parts.

    Closed-field tournaments for those who otherwise missed the strength-based cut to open competition are promotional side-events and should be treated as such. Heck, if ~really~ you want to use this to draw more females (or even more non-Asians) into professional Go venues you could even wind up paying the players at these “promotional invitationals” -more- money than the standard “appearance fee” of the regular tournament. Whether money for promotional events it greater than or less than an open event is really up to the venue.

  21. Tom van bodegraven says:

    I believe this has nothing to do with business. This is good old fashioned discrimination. I strongly support the protest as this type of discrimination is totally unacceptable in 2011.

  22. Will Morrow says:

    Let me see if I have this right. The women were not compensated because only men were invited, therefore not compensating the women was not sexually discriminating?? Someone must have had a goban broken over their head before becoming an offical – especially to say something like that publicly and expect it to carry the position.

  23. Dear Jing,

    Thank you for covering this piece of news! I would like to point out two minor points/mistakes in the article. First NT3000 roughly equals to US$100, not US$300. Secondly, to my knowledge, the Taiwanese female players have collectively decided to protest, therefore it is a bit misleading to say that Joanne Missingham (Hei Jiajia) protests for discrimination (of course I understand that Joanne is the most popular among all). Thanks again for highlighting this!

  24. I’m definitely in favor of not even having women’s tournaments. Why is gender relevant here? So much go is even played online now where gender is usually unknown. If everyone played together this wouldn’t be an issue. I support gender equality in go, meaning that it’s not a factor.

  25. Many people of both genders feel uneasy among a crowd strongly dominated by the other sex. The past abuses in other venues produce an expectation of exclusion, and thus many people avoid strongly biased areas. Women avoid chess and Go, Men avoid knitting and nursing.

    The right way to foster participation by both genders is to structure tournaments to balance the gender ratios at the start. The match pairings thereafter should be blind to gender. If the second round is dominated by one gender or the other, then so be it. Give equal opportunity. Let ability sort out the rest.

    Segregation is not the answer as it leads to unequal treatment, and unequal respect.

  26. Rafael Moreno says:

    Why men and women play in different categories in first place?

    Go is not a sport in which physical strength is a hold-up for women to keep-up. I believe that in GO, as well as in Chess, and any other mind game, competitions should not take gender into account. Wouldn’t that be nice to have a title match between a man and a woman? What about a Meijin woman?

    In day-to-day games I play my girlfriend, my mother and my sister, regardless of the game – Go, Checkers, Backgammon, cards, dominoes, and I am pretty sure that happens not only to me. Why in championships things are not that way?

    That’s my point of view. In GO, it is all about mind strength, let everybody play each other and see how it works, and the winner gets the prize, regardless of gender.

  27. My question is, what’s wrong with the men? Why did they not also boycott?

  28. Joanne missngham is right but if she does this protest lots of things will have to change for equality for instant in Japan for go girls get a special professional go exam for those that are not insei and such also how the game is viewed from different country another thing is that we live in a dog eat dog world where the strongest survive so it would make sense why the men’s would not fight about this kind of things because back then most professional were men

  29. Anthony Prezman says:

    Nothing’s more important than claiming a truth. Even if Hei Jiajia’s act doesn’t change a thing to the situation, it won’t stay ignored and that’s the most important.

  30. Women should be allowed to merge & participate in all the title games. And the results will tell. Men shouldn’t be scared to lose, and must conduct fair play.

  31. Firstly, Wow , are you serious? To me this is an obvious situation. Female Go player Do deserve to get paid equally. Furthermore of Course female Go players have fans!!! Are you serious!!! Lastly, If you cant figure it out, how about you STOP SEPARATING THE MALE AND FEMALE DIVISIONS. Let all Go players have an equal shot at the titles and the prizes.

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