Divya Deshmukh Speaks Out Against Sexism in Chess Community

Chess prodigy Divya Deshmukh takes on sexism in chess, revealing the unequal treatment faced by female players. Her call for equal respect emphasizes the need for change in the chess community.

Indian chess sensation, Divya Deshmukh, has courageously addressed the prevalent issue of sexism and misogyny in the chess community, bringing attention to the challenges faced by female players. Deshmukh raised her voice after participating in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, where she finished 12th with a score of 4.5 out of 13, competing alongside notable players like Hans Niemann and Harika Dronavalli.

In a heartfelt post on social media, Divya Deshmukh expressed her disappointment at the unequal treatment female chess players often experience from spectators. Despite her strong performance and pride in her games, Deshmukh revealed that the audience’s focus shifted to irrelevant aspects such as her clothes, hair, and accent.

“I played a few games which I felt were quite good, and I was proud of them. I got told by people how the audience was not even bothered with the game but instead focused on every single possible thing in the world: my clothes, hair, accent, and every other irrelevant thing,” she wrote in her Instagram post.


Deshmukh pointed out the unfairness in the way female players are discussed in interviews, emphasizing that the focus should be on their skills and achievements rather than irrelevant criteria. She highlighted the broader issue faced by women in the chess community and called for equal respect, challenging the existing biases.

“I think women face this daily, and I’m barely 18. I have faced so much judgment, including hatred over the years for things that don’t even matter. I think women should start getting equal respect,” Deshmukh asserted, shedding light on the urgent need for a more inclusive and fair treatment of female chess players in the sport.

Her courageous stance contributes to the ongoing conversation about promoting gender equality and dismantling stereotypes in the world of chess, inspiring positive change for the future.


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