Gender discrimination in sports has long been a controversial topic due to unequal wage, unequal viewership, and unequal opportunities between men and women. Unfortunately, gender discrimination is still an issue in the 21st century. However, we strongly believe that we, collectively, men and women, can do more about gender equality supporting the promotion of women in sports.
One of the essential conditions for the effective exercise of human rights is that everyone should be free to develop and preserve his or her physical, intellectual, and moral powers and that access to physical education and sport should consequently be assured and guaranteed for all human beings.UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport
Sport and physical activities were recognized as a human right in the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, adopted in 1978 by UNESCO.
However, this charter didn’t fully root out gender discrimination in sports. This means that women still have fewer opportunities to play sports and are paid meager sums as compared with the wage of men.
All those who think that women can’t play sports because they’re “physically weak” should do a little research and watch women’s championships.
Doing so, they will discover such great names as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic (tennis players), Simone Biles (gymnast), Danica Patrick (racing car driver), and many more.
Thanks to these names (and not only) the history of women’s sports is filled with major accomplishments and records.
Looking into statistics and bringing examples can help us understand how to eliminate the root of inequality in sports.
Gender Discrimination in Sports | Women’s sports and media coverage
While surfing the internet or TV channels it’s literally impossible to not notice that women’s sports get less airtime than men’s.
Statistics have proven that women in sports are generally ignored and are given very little importance when it comes to media coverage.
Although approximately 40% of sport and physical activity participants are women, women’s sports receive only 4% of all sports media coverage, according to the statistics introduced by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport.
In a study of four major newspapers (USA Today, the Boston Globe, the Orange County Register and the Dallas Morning news) women-only sports stories totalled just 3.5% of all sports stories.
So, how do these statistics impact women’s sports in general?
First, the lower coverage of women’s sports results in less viewership and a smaller fanbase.
Second, the lesser viewership ultimately leads to less advertisement and sponsors, which on the other hand results in a lesser pay.
In short, all these factors create a cycle that keeps women’s sports ignored and less appreciated. Hopefully, this unfair treatment towards women in sports will gradually become a rare phenomenon. And for that to become a reality, media should play its part by encouraging and representing women’s achievements in a proper way.
Gender Discrimination in Sports | Women still face a wage gap
It hurts to say that even in the 21st-century pay gap is still a BIG issue. Women still earn less than men, even when they have similar levels of education.
This kind of discrimination exists in literally all fields, and sports isn’t an exception. The wage gap in sports can be explained by a zillion examples.
According to Forbes Magazine, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned $2 million for their 2015 Women’s World Cup Soccer victory.
Everything looks all right here until we compare this victory to the U.S. men’s team coming in 11th in 2014, where they collected $9 million dollars.
The most striking thing about all this is that the earnings of both teams are not conditioned by the viewership as, according to Forbes, the women’s final game was the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history.
It’s a little difficult to find a clear reason that could explain this kind of gender discrimination in sports.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case.
Steph Houghton, the best-paid female English player, earns around £65,000 a year, while Wayne Rooney receives £300,000 a week.
When it comes to women, tennis is by far the most money-making sport for female athletes. In fact, all grand slam tennis tournaments have paid male and female champions equally since Wimbledon begun doing so in 2007.
However, Novak Djokovic, the men’s number one, earned twice as much as Serena Williams, the women’s number one, although both had won three of the four grand slams.
According to Forbes Magazine, the gender wage gap for coaches is extremely high as well. At Duke University, the men’s basketball coach makes almost $10 million annually, whereas the women’s basketball coach makes a little over $700,000.
Let’s hope that very soon we will no longer complain about the absence of true pay equality in sports.
Gender Discrimination in Sports | Gender discrimination in verbal and visual contexts
What’s wrong with these names?
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) vs National Basketball Association (NBA)
FIFA Women’s World Cup vs FIFA World Cup
Women’s World Chess Championship vs World Chess Championship
As you can see, women’s sports also tend to be verbally and visually set apart, such as in the name of the above-mentioned championships/association.
On the other hand, in men’s sports, gender is almost never mentioned.
Gender Discrimination in Sports | Women’s health and sports
“No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks.”
It’s hard to believe but the above-mentioned statement was expressed by the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1896.
What did the founder of Olympics mean by this statement? Perhaps he wanted to say that women are too weak for sports?
Whatever he meant, one thing is clear and indisputable. This kind of opinion couldn’t but fuel gender-based discrimination in the athletics industry.
Even though there are famous female weightlifters, boxers, swimmers, basketball players, etc., many of us still believe that such sports are harmful to women’s health, particularly to their reproductive health.
However, the data available suggests that women derive many health benefits from participating in sports.
Girls and women who play sports HAVE:
- stronger immune systems and run a reduced risk of chronic illnesses later in life such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, endometrial, colon and breast cancers,
- higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression,
- a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.
Simply put, physical activity and sport can enhance the mental, psychological and spiritual health of girls and young women.
So girls, if you have decided to become a sportswoman do not give up on your dreams.
Girls never lose their beauty because of sports. On the contrary, they become even more gorgeous, sexy and confident.
Surf the internet and find the photos of Tennis player Maria Sharapova, soccer player Alex Morgan, basketball player Skylar Diggins, cross-fit athlete Camille Leblanc Bazinet, another tennis player Eugenie Bouchard and many others and you will understand what we mean.
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