Woman, a word that whenever appears carries with itself a sea of stories. A story of struggle, a story of discrimination, a story of freedom and many such untold, unheard stories. Well, I have a different story to tell today. The story of Women, Sports and Discrimination. Do you even know that when the Olympics games began in 1896, not even a single woman athlete was allowed to compete? And the most shocking part of that Olympics was that, even if a woman was found watching it, she was punished severely.
But to find the gender discrimination in sports, we don’t have to go so far since we have plenty of examples right at our homes. The very sight of a barby doll fills our live barbies with delight. But have you ever thought why we gift a baby girl with a doll and a baby boy with a toy car or maybe a toy gun? Isn’t it a sort of discrimination?? Just give it a thought!
However, later the Olympics authority gave two explanations for excluding women from Olympics;
- Women are not too healthy to compete
- Not all the women prefer playing everywhere, and if women seek to participate in Olympics, a women’s sport has to be practiced widely in not less than 25 nations
But very soon the women cleared both these blocks and proved their physical fitness first to prove their eligibility. In 1900, Olympics allowed not more than 22 women to participate in Olympics but this was a partial success. Why partial, because they could only compete in two games viz. golf and tennis.
|A long way to go!|
Every year since then, we can notice some changes in the criteria of Olympics as far as a woman’s participation is concerned. And the struggle continues till today. After declining many formal petitions it is only in 2009 that the authority gave its approval to women ski jumping. Ski jumping “seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view..” said Gian Franco Kesper, the then-Ski Federation president (2005).
The number of sports event for women keep on changing every year but with terms and conditions applied. The women’s boxing event got accepted by the IOC only in 2012. But with the condition that the women competitors should wear skirts while playing since it would help the authority distinguishing them from the male competitors since every fighter has to wear a headgear during the competition. Whereas, some nations found it more elegant.
However, the London Olympics (2012) marked a remarkable increase in the women’s participation. There were around 45% women participants it. And almost 59 women participant won medals including 29 gold ones. The figures suggest a positive and celebratory future for women in Olympics or any of the sport event.
|On their way to success!|
But despite of these promising figures there are a few Muslim nations that still discourage their women athletes to prove their competency publicly.
Recently, the whole world celebrated International woman’s day on 8th March and on 9th March, we witnessed Nagoya International Women's Marathon that actually symbolizes women’s empowerment and their competency in sport’s events.
The 20 or 30 minutes, that you enjoy watching a women’s tennis, boxing or racing event, has behind it decades of struggle. The 20 or 30 minutes in which women try to give their best, prove their ability has many decades of hard work, determination and of course many untold stories of struggle.
|Success! Success! Success!|