Gender Inequality in Sports
When it comes to inequality in sports, the most significant topic of conversation has been female athletes being paid less than their male counterparts. While this is true, many other factors contribute to the unfairness in the sports world. In addition to the challenges that women face on a day-to-day basis, female athletes encounter a multitude of different obstacles in and outside of their game.
As a female athlete myself, we are constantly fighting for equal rights, a fight that even leads a lot of us to lose interest in our sport and give up on our dreams. Not only do women have to deal with a lack of opportunities, but they also put up with a lot of misogyny and objectification from fans, male players, refs and sometimes coaches as well. Even with all of these issues coming to light, we are still expected to deal with the sexist remarks made towards us, especially since many people consider women’s sports a spectacle that is simply for the enjoyment of the viewers. According to the BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s survey, 65 percent of women have experienced prejudice in their sport but only 10% reported it, mainly because they didn’t know who to report it to considering the majority of coaches are male. It’s the fear and frustration of not being understood or taken seriously that prevents a lot of women from sharing their stories. Even when women try to escape it, they continue to be hypersexualized whether they’re receiving criticism from society or being sexually exploited in the media.
The US Women’s National Team
The U.S women’s national soccer team won the Fifa World Cup back in 2019. Regardless of their success, they made about a quarter of what the U.S men’s team did, a team that failed to qualify for the World Cup in the first place. Nevertheless, the U.S women’s soccer team brought this conversation to the forefront after it was released that they generated $1.9 million more than the men did in 2015 alone. In March of 2019, the women’s national team sued the U.S Soccer Federation, seeking more than $66 million in damages for gender discrimination, the lawsuit drawing worldwide attention. The bargaining showed the disparity in not only their bonuses but the highlighted pay differences between the two teams as well. Are the women players still paid less? Yes. The bottom line is that the women’s national soccer team has proved themselves to be just as deserving as the male players time and time again, and fortunately for them, the long-standing gap between profits produced by the men and women has disappeared in recent years.
The Value of Women in Sports
Not only do women in sports defy societal norms, but it breaks down gender stereotypes and shows the world how equal men and women really are. From creating strong leaders, to building confidence, sports can teach girls a number of skills that will help better themselves in the future. It creates fearless, powerful, and healthy girls who can overcome obstacles and deal with success just as much as failure. Having women in sports also gives young girls someone to look up to! Many young girls who may have heard that they’re not going to make it or that sports are strictly for boys will have an inspiring role model to inspire and motivate them to do their best. It’s important for young women, especially those of colour, to see female representation in athletics as a reminder that if she can do it, they can too.
So, what's next? It’s important for everyone to understand that while there’s still room for improvement, things are getting better! What it really boils down to is that we collectively need to do more on gender equality so that we can open the way for our young girls just like we do for our boys. Let’s start seeing everyone as equal on all counts in sports, school, the workplace and in life.
We need to show girls all around the world that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve and be equally respected while doing it!
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