Pivotal Issue in Sport: From Gerder Inequality Perspective

Pivotal Issue in Sport

The issues of gender equality are manifested in all areas of life, particularly in sports. In most instances, women fall victim to discrimination and lack of inclusion in major sports events. However, over the years, the fight to have women included in sporting activities has changed the approach to these issues. For instance, in the early 1900s, women were excluded from the National Football Leagues, and they were not allowed to participate in these games.  In the first years of the formation of the National Football League, women teams provided entertainment at halftime (Kantor, 2010). In this period, the women’s professional football team was not existent. In 1974, the National Women’s Football League (NWFL) was formed to include women in professional football. As a result, professional football teams started blossoming, making women’s football popular in the United States.

Initially, the absence of a women’s professional football league was an issue of diversity and inclusion as the men took center stage in football games. According to Xin-min (2012), in 1926, the women were only allowed to participate as entertainers during men’s games, which limited the potential of women in football games. However, the issue was addressed in 1965 when Sid Friedman formed a semipro league to gimmick a professional women’s football league. Consequently, women’s football teams started flourishing, and the idea became viable in most states in the country.

The sports arena was mainly dominated by men with professional men’s leagues and matches that attracted crowds during their games. In the 19th century, women were limited from participating in physical activities as it was believed that they were weakened during menstruation (Linden, 2015). Notably, Dr. Edward Clarke published a book Sex in Education: or A Fair Chance for Girls, which suggested that physical activity should be limited at the onset of menstruation (Bell, 2012). As a result, the participation of women in physical activity was limited due to this preposition. In the early 1900s, women started forming informal athletic clubs in colleges and institutions, which boosted the participation of women in sports. As stated by Bell (2012) “the Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) and the American Physical Education Association (APEA) endorsed programs of broad participation for women.” As a result, more women started participating in sporting activities.  Their push for increased participation of women in sports was based on the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which emphasized freedom for women, which led to increased equality in society. The involvement of women during the Second World War also created the perception that women could do as much as men. Hence, women started pushing for equality in athletics, which also created feminist movements to fight for the rights of women.

However, the participation of women in sports faces challenges, such as the wage gaps that exist between male and female athletes. Despite their involvement in sports and their talents, women in sports still get lower wages compared to their male counterparts, which contributes to discrimination against women. For instance, in soccer, the Women’s National Team won the World Cup in 2015 and was awarded 2 million dollars (Portsche, 2019). On the other hand, France’s men’s soccer team received 38 million for winning the World Cup in 2018 (Portsche, 2019).

Additionally, the women face body shaming for their structures compared to the men. For instance, muscular women are shamed, whereas muscular men are praised for their body structures (Portsche, 2019). The intense work out sessions for all the sporting activities pushes the women to be more muscular. However, the negative comments regarding their physique discriminate against them, and it further affects their participation.  Finally, women’s athletic activities do not receive the same respect awarded to male sporting activities.

In most cases, women’s sporting activities are overlooked, whereas men’s activities are praised. As a consequence, women have limited opportunities to participate in these activities. The lack of visibility and respect in sports also discourages upcoming female athletes from participating. Therefore, it contributes to the limited participation of women in sports.

The issues experienced by women can be fixed by supporting women during sporting activities. For instance, by attending women matches, the audience for the games would increase, which would significantly improve the payments to the women. The increased audience increases the money collected, thus pushing for better pay for the women athletes. Additionally, creating more awareness of women’s sports will contribute to the increased popularity of women in sports. In so doing, more women will be encouraged to participate in sports, which further contributes to equality in sports.

Overall, the push for equality in sports encouraged more women to participate in sports. However, issues such as discrimination against the women athletes are still evident in the lack of support for the women and the wage gaps that exists between men and women athletes. Therefore, the future of women in sports is dependent on the increased awareness of women sporting activities and the participation of more women to increase popularity.

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