Women have made good progress over the past decades; however, much still need to be done. Today, women have more to talk about than several years back when women were never allowed to participate in sports. In the earlier 1900s, the few women who participate in the selected sports had restrictions that made everything difficult. The difficulty came from the position the society had given the women. Women were considered as physically weak and could only do the best within the homes. Therefore, it was perceived that women could not play games like football. Other than the physical differences, dressing has also been a challenge to the women sportspersons (Henne 787). In the past, culture was the main barrier towards allowing women to fully participate in sports.
Few women participated in sports during the beginning of the twentieth century. The few who did so were disapproved because sports were meant for men. For long, the show of strength in sports meant women were never to take part in the same. It was generally taken that women could only take part in less physical sports. Therefore, the growth of women’s sports has been slow for a number of reasons. As much as the number of women in sports has increased, numerous challenges need to be tackled. Over the years, women’s participation in sports has been encouraged by school sports activities.
The challenges that women sports have to overcome include funding from stakeholders. Sports funding plays a huge role in encouraging and building games. Up to date, more males get sports scholarships than females. According to Nauright & Parrish (169), sports funding and scholarships are some of the ways that women sports can grow. The problem likely occurs from the many colleges that are only keen on promoting male sports. For Muslim women, religion and traditions are the major barriers to the growth of women sports. In the spirit of preserving their faith and traditions, Muslim women must have long dresses that cover most of their skins. In countries like Iran, women are not allowed to watch matches in stadiums.
Progress in women sports is evident in international tournaments like the Olympics and World cup. The 2016 Rio summer Olympics marked the first-ever participation of women rugby sevens. Australia won the first-ever Olympics gold during the tournament against New Zealand in the finals. Today, women participate in all Olympic games; a great achievement.
The battle or equality still persists between female and male sports. Women in sports tend to receive lower wages than men. For example, men soccer players receive higher annual pay than female counterparts in the US. The problem is also evident at the international stage. For instance, when Germany won the men World Cup in 2014, they were paid 35 million dollars whereas the US national female soccer team was awarded 2 million dollars after winning the trophy. Equal pay between men and women in sports will be a big boost in promoting women’s sports.
Henne (800) notes that promotion and media are one of that method that stands to encourage women in sports. Currently, women sports fail to achieve viewership and coverage as compared to men sports. Media coverage is also lower compared to men in sports. With much effort from the stakeholders, better coverage will promote women’s sports. It can be appreciated that women have increasingly increased their participation in sports; however, more can still be done. Women can now venture into the traditionally male sports.
Nauright, John and Charles Parrish, Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice,
ABC-CLIO, 2012. p. 169.
Henne, K., The “Science” of Fair Play in Sport: Gender and the Politics of Testing, Signs:
Journal of Women in Culture & Society, 39(3), 2014, 787–812.