Women have long faced gender discrimination in sports. This is especially so in certain sports traditionally perceived to be more masculine and regarded as a ‘boys’ game’ such as football, rugby or horse racing, which are considered too brutish and it was once unthinkable for women to even participate in.
In contrast, sportswomen today are increasingly recognised for their contributions and achievements and our society celebrates them as true sporting heroes within their respective sports. This recognition is not limited to women being involved as a competitor, but also increasing number of female candidates who are shortlisted by companies and sports associations for top management positions. Women sports are also increasingly popular today as an entertainment product, and this popularity has not gone unnoticed by corporations that are actively participating as sponsors of both the sport event and its athletes.
In fact, an interesting indicator of women’s progress in sport can be benchmarked by the negativity and controversies focused upon by the media, which are comparable now to those generated by men’s sports.
Read the full article on The Guardian: At last, women are winning in sport
Despite the strides made in women sports and contrary to the belief of the commentary above, women are still largely subject to gender discrimination globally.
One of the most contentious issues in sports today is with regard to a sportswoman’s remuneration as a competitor which critics have argued is often significantly lower than men in the same sport. The latest debate that comes to mind is the recent gender discrimination lawsuit filed by United States women’s soccer team over pay equity and working conditions.
This unequal pay gap is also apparent in popular women sports with high viewership ratings such as tennis, where issues of the unequal prize money led to elite competitors advocating for greater pay equality.
This gender discrimination is not limited to professional female athletes. Even in today’s society, women are still being banned from entering into sports arena, or even from being a spectator in the sport.
As some commentators have pointed out, sports has always been the reflection of our society and its attitudes. Consequently, so long as gender discrimination and inequality exist in our society today, this will always be a prevalent issue in sports and may not be eradicated easily.
Nevertheless, it is crucial that in tackling the issue of gender discrimination, societies must first recognize that this is a relevant and existing issue today. On this, we can all take a leaf from the world of tennis and its growing recognition of the myriad issues its female competitors face.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- What role does the media play in perpetuating gender stereotypes?
- How do you think traditional gender roles impact men and women in our current modern society?
- ‘brutish’: rough, unpleasant, and often violent
- ‘contentious’: causing, involving, or likely to cause disagreement and argument
- ‘eradicated’: to get rid of something completely or destroy something bad