I've seen quite a few writing competitions recently that are only open to people of one sex, a particular ethnic group, or residents of a certain area. Why? Surely things such as gender, skin colour and nationality are unimportant to readers of the story or poem?
Perhaps I'm wrong and some groups aren't getting a fair deal and therefore deserve extra help. I can only go by my own experience, which is that although I have sometimes been asked for a photo (for publicity purposes) this has only happened AFTER my work was judged.
Some restrictions I can understand. Competitions just for children for instance, or new writers, as it wouldn't be fair to judge their entries against those of more experienced writers.
Esecially frustrating is when such requirements aren't at all obvious and you have to send off for further details, or miss them until double checking the small print just before sending off your highly polished piece of work. Grrr. Still, it's always our responsibilty to check all the rules to make sure we are eligible and happy to accept any conditions imposed.
What entry requirements would you like to see in a competition? One only for redheads who got married in purple would be good I think.