Gender stereotypes in sports restrain women

Nov 1 • Opinion, Top Stories • 265

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Nowadays, the differences between men and women are still noticeable. It does not matter if they are playing sports, working or at home, the differences still exist in the 21st century placing women in an inferior position.

Certain competitive situations continue to be perpetuated, such as economic differences in prizes, salaries, schedules of participations or presence in the media, among many others. These situations have contributed to maintain or increase these inequalities, which extend beyond the practice of sports.

Why does this happen? Because when girls and women play sports around the world, they get fewer opportunities, less investment and fewer possibilities for training and security. When they manage to become professional athletes, their salaries are so low that they have to face many difficult situations. And it is that certainly, when we think of soccer, football or any other sport championships, the image of a female team or athlete rarely comes to mind.

The role played by the women in the development and configuration of modern sports has been unfairly relegated to the background, a fact that can be seen, for example, in the media. This does not happen in just a few sports, but in all of them, especially soccer.

Because of the difference in the salaries, many women have to find an additional job outside of their sport to be able to pay their bills.

They even decide to retire from sports and work elsewhere because they feel they are being underpaid, which is a reality. The number of participants in women sports is now much lower than men´s sports but the big difference is that women´s sports receive only 2-4 percent of all sports coverage. This does not just mean that the media does not just under-report women´s sports; it actively suppresses information about it.

It is true that decades ago the situation was not as it is today. Now, women are able to go to college, to play sports, to vote, to work. Everything is changing, so we cannot expect a big change right away. The interest in women’s sports is increasing, both in terms of women participating and spectators watching women compete. This will help fight the inequalities we are seeing nowadays.

The contribution of women is fundamental in all social areas and not just sports. Women broaden perspectives, bring new ideas and innovations and reach new audiences. We have to start changing the way we think. We have to see everyone as equal because we are all humans trying to pursue our dreams.

Many women out there want to become professional athletes but the situation makes them back up. The elimination of gender stereotypes in sports is a crucial matter to ending the barriers that limit women’s access to positions in sports.

Sports have the power to overcome the barriers of sex, race, religion and nationality. It promotes health and well-being, improves self-esteem and teaches leadership, teamwork skills and perseverance. Women in sports challenges gender stereotypes, and they become an inspiration as role models and show men and women as equals. So why should we think about the differences in gender when the purpose of sports goes beyond that?

CRISTINA DEL DIEGO

deldieg001 @knights.gannon.edu

 

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