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technology 25 Nov 2019

Attitudes towards women athletes in sports


For years now, the major hindrance to women meeting their needs has been gender inequality. Despite notable improvements in gender equality in various systems of development, gender gaps within the sports sector still persist. Nonetheless, women and girls are still encouraged to take part in sports.

However, unlike the men, women are subjected to gender testing to make sure they are not men trying to cheat their way into sports and tend to receive less media coverage which reduces their visibility in sports. Research has shown that many sports fans argue that womens sports tend to be boring and slow compared to that of men that’s why the unequal attention given to female athletes attract negative consequences for women while protecting male privilege in sports.

Most gender differences in sports are shaped by culture which dictate what it is to be male and female and with this, also associating different sports to being masculine and feminine. Women partaking in “male-attributed” sports like football are put under scrutiny and get their sexuality questioned thus breaking this traditional barrier becomes hard and problematic for many women in sports.

The media has overtime promoted gender bias in sports as it tends to ignore and devalue womens accomplishments by focusing on their private lives, physical appearances and femininity despite womens major breakthroughs in sports. It portrays women in sports as ‘girls’ and tend to have women receive poor quality of technical production and also objectifies them by taking shots and pictures of women in provocative angles while they are competing.

If sports media and fans were to treat female and male sports the same through showing support to women athletes and promoting them, then the inequalities within sports would decrease. The UN women alongside Sports for Generation Equality calls for stakeholders within the sports industry to be a part of a coalition that makes gender equality a lived reality through sports. Through this they can promote womens leadership and equality in governance models, prevent and respond to gender based violence in sports and close the gaps in investments in womens sports by promoting equal economic opportunities and women bias free presentation in media, all by providing equal opportunities for women in sports largely through equal pay.

Sports has the power to change lives and women in sports defy gender stereotypes and social norms making inspiring role models and showing men and women as equals.

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