It is very astonishing to see how the idea of gender equality in sports has been taken out of context. I don’t know how many times I have read in news paper readers’ column and spotted lines like ‘If women want to be paid like men in x-sport they should play a length of x-duration and x-intensity’. Then comes the generalization that women sports are not entertaining because of the physical limitation of speed and power. The idea that women lack credibility and under-perform in sports has extended from actually participating in the respective sport to just reporting about it or even acting as an official in a match as in the case of Sky reporters Keys and Gray regarding the female referee Sian Massey. It is these derogatory opinions that have compelled me to speak up on my take on this subject.
“For most of human history, athletic competition has been regarded as an exclusively masculine affair. In antiquity, athletic competitions were held among warriors to prove their fighting prowess or otherwise demonstrate their virility. The exclusively male origins of competitive sport carried over into the Ancient Olympics, where women were not allowed even to watch competitions, much less compete,” Wikipedia.
In a time when women were considered physically inferior and incapable of doing sports a few women took the challenge to disapprove the misconception amidst great disapproval from their male counter parts. One of the greatest milestones in women’s attempt to express their desire to take part in sports is marked by the year 776 B.C. where in the response of being barred in the Olympics they started competing every four years in the ‘Games of Hera’, to honor the Greek goddess who ruled over women and the earth.Hence forth women have tried to break through sports frontier and their journey has been marked by great obstacles.
Looking back at the concept of the ‘Games of Hera’ it can be interpreted that what women really desired is to prove the fact that they were not physically incapable of sports but that the male dominated sports were specially designed for men and thus making them an unsuitable bench mark to measure women’s abilities. This is where the concept of gender equality steps in. It is not about running with the men but having the ability to run, full stop. It is as simple as being able to participate in the events that you want as a woman in a field customized for your physical ability and not in impossible feats of endurance and physical torture.
It is non sense for men to continue demanding from women to perform at the same footing as their male counter parts so as to achieve the same level of respect and adoration for that my friend is where the gender inequality lies because it creates a hurdle designed to eliminate and discriminate against women.
If you look at popular sports today they continue to inherit the origins of these gender inequalities for instance GOLF a popular sport and now with competitive women golf players stands for ‘Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden’.
The NBA stands for National Basket Association but then there is the WNBA i.e. Women National Basket Ball Association (why the distinction?). Even though women are now able to participate in a range of sports the promotion and publicity as well as support is still lagging behind. With the exception of a few popular sports like tennis, athletics, swimming and the likes many other sports lack publicity.How much media coverage does the women world cup or cricket have? Have you heard of a women’s F1 race having premier TV coverage? Or a woman NASCAR driver getting premium media endorsements?
Women do not object that there are physical differences between the gender and in no way do I admit that there are no exceptional women who can and could run in the same footing as men what women want and will continue to fight for in the name of gender equality is being given the same respect as their male counter part for doing the sports they train hard for and in which they are so good at.
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