All human beings deserve equal treatment, no matter their gender identity or sexuality. It is a general belief for school girls that anywhere they go; there are possibilities of being smart, athletic and successful as the boys. But such story is quite different in reality. From the moment of conception, girls are forced to realize that even instances wherein only talent and passion are the most important distinguishers, they are not as good as their opposite sex.
Unsurprisingly, sports which harbors the careers of the most passionate and the aspiring, is also a main concern when it comes to the issue of gender bias. The males have a lot of influence over sports has become a nightmare for female athletes, who in hope of pursuing their careers in the field of sports, have been denied of being happy with their abilities among a plethora of gender bias instances.
In sports, women’s participation has a long history. This history is marked by bias, but also one that is filled with major skills by female athletes and important advances for gender equality. Among many, some of the most notable achievements of women in sports are those of Maria-Teresa de Fillippis of Italy; the first woman to compete in a European Grand prix auto race in 1958, Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria; who holds the women’s 100 metres commonwealth Games record for the fastest time, and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya; who in 1994 became the first African woman to win a major Marathon. These achievements were made in the face of countless obstacles based on gender bias.
Many factors have promoted this ill practice; one of which is the media. By little representation of women’s achievements in sports, the media has reduced the possibility of a greater reach of talent possessed by female athletes to the audience. Several investigations done on media coverage of women sports go on to prove that, women sports are generally given very less importance. In addition, cases of sexual harassment have also been a major concern, especially in developing countries. We have had many accusations of sportswomen constantly exploited before they are given opportunities to participate in the career of their choice.
Also, women are often treated as being too weak for sport, especially endurance sports like Marathons and weightlifting. Most people still hold the belief that sports are detrimental to women’s health, particularly to their reproductive health. However, there are suggestions that women derive many health benefits from participation in sports. Separate studies from two health experts provide evidence to the fact that sports can result in lifelong improvements to health prospects. For girls, it can have a positive impact of childhood health as well as reduce the risk of chronic diseases in later life.
As such, it is everyone’s responsibility to support the promotion of women in sports and to ensure the empowerment of girls and women.
This article was written by Abel Raphael; connect with him on IG here