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Gender disparity in sport…

Posted in Gender, Life, News, Sport with tags , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by L.J

With all the advancements that women have made in the world, there is still a ways to go when it comes to women in sport and how women in sport are viewed. Professional sport is recognised in a variety of ways in the contemporary world whether it be by monetary value, advertising power or media presence. In all three of these elements women rarely if ever out rank their male counterparts, yet no clear reason is evident for this. The only place where women out rank men is on their individual sporting success.

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach – 6 time winner of the U.S Soccer Athlete of the year award.

The sporting world is littered with examples of where select women’s teams (English Cricket team, Aussie and Dutch hockey teams) or individuals (Golfer Annika Sorenstam, Tennis champ Venus Williams) are ahead of their male counterparts when it comes to success. Yet they rarely become the household names that their male equivalents do, and even if they do you’re not going to find big posters for kids to put on their bedroom walls. Which begs the question, is there shame in being a female sporting hero? Where are the posters for young men and women to put up of their favourite players who just happen to be female? Why must we persist with posters of Michael Jordan or football players as the dominant options? 365544-hockeyroos-win-in-delhi There is a circular argument that exists, where women’s sport would be more televised/reported on and have more prize money/sponsorship IF they had more people interested in them in the first place, and the only way they can have that is if they’re being televised/reported on… This is a cruel concept on many levels because it makes it incredibly hard for women to break out of the circular rhetoric that surrounds women’s sport. It makes it harder for women to dispel/confront or alter the myths surrounding womens sport (they might get hurt easier, they turn into men, something happens to their sexuality). It makes it harder for young women who are talented to determine their career paths and it makes it harder for some to support their families/self if they do choose to be a professional sportswoman.


When scouring the Internet for articles on this topic it’s not hard to find the comments from Joe Blog demonising women in sport sometimes being overtly sexist, but often displaying sexist thoughts without being consciously aware of such. The overwhelming suggestion from men regarding how women could lift their profile in sport, was to “sexy it up” or that “Bikinis could save most female professional sports leagues”. This speaks volumes about the understanding of how hard sports people work (regardless of gender) and how far society has to come before we can accept the fact that a beach volleyball outfit is not the answer for the success of women’s sport in general. The argument that sex sells demeans the sport in question implying that¬†without the “sex” element the sport wouldn’t be worth playing or watching at all. sex-sells-main Women in sport have been further compounded recently in Australia by our Minister for Women (PM Tony Abbott), thanks to the budget cuts to SBS and the ABC. As a result one of the first things to go is the televising of women’s sport. This is a frustrating and outrageous thing to have happen. Women in sport already get the bottom of the barrel when it comes to print media… women appear in the sport section not only after the men, but after the horses as well. 0 As a Phys Ed Teacher, the loss of televised women’s sport makes a bigger impact on my classroom than what was already happening because it decreases my chances of providing my students with great examples of women in sport. It allows some of my students to reinforce in their heads that women don’t belong in professional sport and it also makes it harder for my female students to identify and connect with sportswomen that they would like to emulate in their future. Ennis_2314669b Sport is suppose to be the great equaliser, the coming together of like minded combatants who desire nothing more than to overcome their previous attempts. We as a society allow these events to be altered by money, media coverage and the advertising world’s distorted views on what success is suppose to look like.