Gender Inequality in Sports
There are two genders; male and female. Masculine attributes are generally daring, muscular, aggressive, and strong, whereas feminine qualities are generally gentle, sympathetic, nurturing, and sensitive. Hence, the nature of sports has been elaborated as a pastime meant for men created by men.
Gender inequality in sports
There is a general understanding among people that being successful at a sport means becoming a successful man. However, for girls the problem is when a sport does not jibe with the image of womanhood or femininity.
Tennis is a sport which is considered acceptable for both males and females. Still, women are restricted to play only three sets, while men generally play five sets (although, this is slowly changing, and in tournaments, men generally play three sets as well). This difference has caused much debate regarding the prize money paid at Wimbledon where female tennis players are paid less.
According to Billie Jean King, a former tennis player, female tennis players are capable of playing five sets, but a woman fainted once, and the all-male board finalized that women should play the best of three sets.
Another example is football where the Football Association actually banned women’s football in 1921. This ban was not lifted for another 50 years.
The very first Olympics in 1896 witnessed no women competing in the events. In the second Olympics, they were allowed to play tennis and golf. Over the years, women were allowed to play in several other sports, and they competed against each other.
Even though bans on sporting events are lifted, it is still not considered appropriate to mix the genders. Several schools still segregate girls and boys in school sports. In sporting events such as a marathon, men and women are not allowed to start running at the same time, even if they are not competing with one another.
When women play traditional male sports, they tend to rarely get sponsorships. These are only granted in sports which are considered neutral or feminine.
Even the media does not help. Women’s sporting events, such as gymnastics, hockey, and netball, usually receive very little to no coverage at all whereas traditional male sports like rugby and football get full coverage.
In management and coaching, you find a high ratio of men when compared to women. You can find men coaching women, but very rarely are there women coaching men.
Even though there are women who hold positions in sports administration, they usually hold lower positions than men who generally hold the management positions.
Even though gender inequalities in sports are an issue which has been debated recently, it is clear that female athletes are still not fairly recognized. I sincerely hope that this gender discrimination will be curbed, and female athletes will eventually gain equal recognition and respect with men athletes. In 2006, the Women’s Sport Foundation stated that “Women athletes are no different from men athletes in the courage, dedication and skill they bring to their sports.”It is time that the sporting community takes notice and eradicates discrimination of female athletes.