Sir Stirling Moss, the former British Formula One driver, has been stirring it up. In this Radio 5 Live Special he questions women's ability to compete in F1. "I think they have the strength, but I don't know if they've got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel," the 83-year old says. "We've got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you're trying to win."
Susie Wolff, Williams' team development driver is tipped to be the UK's first woman to compete in Formula One, but recognises that breaking into it is much harder for women.
It is almost 80 years since Enid Bagnold's fictional character, Velvet Brown, rode her beloved Piebald to victory in the Grand National – the world's toughest steeplechase. She is, of course, only able to compete with the collusion of trainers and friends who enter her under the identity of a young male jockey.
Today, thankfully, women jockeys don't have to resort to subterfuge to compete in the sport of kings. That doesn't mean, though, there aren't hurdles just as challenging as Becher's Brook on their progress round the track.
The barriers for women seem to be highest in sports that allow men and women to compete alongside each other. Other examples are darts, snooker and bowls, where there is neither physical contact nor any inbuilt advantage to being male. In all these sports, however, women continue to fight to be let in to what is still perceived as a man's game.
The relationship between competitive sport and women has historically been fraught and that legacy lives on. And yet there's a reasonable body of research that shows a strong correlation between girls' participation in sport and their academic and career achievement. Irene Rosenfeld, chief executive of Mondelez (formerly part of Kraft Foods) and DuPont chief executive, Ellen Kullman, were both gifted basketball players, for example. Indra Nooyi, chief executive of PepsiCo talks of playing competitive cricket as she was growing up in India. Christine Lagarde, the first woman to head up the International Monetary Fund, represented France in synchronised swimming.
Ernst & Young, the consultancy firm and a sponsor of the Rio 2016 Olympics, last month launched the Women Athletes Global Leadership Network to "advance the dialogue" and set up a strong mentoring foundation to advance the cause of women in sport globally.