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The Inequality Of Sports For Women

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Hanson is explaining, is that there is a large difference in relation to and inequality between women and men in all sports. This is mainly because the sports are dominated by a good majority of men and they tend to gain more media coverage when compared to women. One reason for this is because, live media coverage lags far behind, as some coverage of the media for women will mainly focus around their femininity and gender. This portrays women’s achievements to be inexistent whilst being on the court, (racket sports) and on the track, (athletic events).

Although, the article agrees that women are as equal to men under the law, they are still not as equal as men when it comes to sport. Even though women can do almost everything a man can do, the way that they are viewed in sports does not match their personal and actual abilities. The way that women are seen in this world is seriously inferior than it is to men, especially in professional and college-based sports.

However, this is not always the case. This is because women’s sporting capabilities maybe seemed inferior to the one of a man, yet due to the lack of media attention which is in heavily favoured with men, the men therefore get more air time and live coverage in most of the media. This results in there being a massive problem on terms where women are overlooked and overshadowed by men. This is because their playing abilities and accomplishments are not seen as of equal to that of a man, on which the media favours men more than women.

This again links back to where the media outlets see the woman as a mother, caretaker and something that is mainly attractive instead of an athlete. One of the most outrageous moments in women’s soccer timeline happened back in 1999, when Brandi Chastain ripped of her Jersey top, revealing her sports bra, an image that made the headlines of every newspaper and media article at the time. Yet, this may have been an innocent act of celebration, however it was once seen again by the media to expose a bigger light against women to expose them in a sexual light in the sporting world.

Lisa Parfitt, Managing Director of Engine Sport believes that there has been a change in the commercial side of sport, in the last few years. This is because the culture of sport now days has vastly improved; there are now more opportunities for women, both for applications in the sport industry such as football and netball. She also states that women are more recognised for their talent within the commercial centre and it shows what women can do. She also believes that there has been a huge positive impact due to a general equality and a cultural shift towards a better society.

Ann-Marie Batson, who is a sports broadcaster and works for the BBC has also began to recognise the changes in sports in this generation as well. She says that working for the BBC as a black woman, to report sports in media has changed. Because if we think back to ten years ago black women or women in general wouldn’t have been allowed to report sports for the media and now, they can without anyone thinking this was anything other than normal reporting. She believes that more people have opened their eyes and that there are more given opportunities in front of women today, and they can use their voice to be heard.

The question is, how can the sports sector embrace more change to allow women better equality in sports overall?

Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport states that overall around the world, we have a problem that there still aren’t enough high professional level women coaches in the sports industry. Yet she says that there is going to be a huge movement at UK Sport that allows athletes to train to become coaches once they have finished participating competitively in their particular sport. They’ve also installed a leadership programme that allows athletes to participate in teaching and leading sports as well.

Linking to gender inequality, is also the pay gap. For example, Steph Houghton who is one of the best paid female English football players who earns £65,000 a year compared to Wayne Rooney who earns £300,000 a week, not a year. In March, male and female cricket teams descended upon India for a tournament. Yet it was discovered that males were allowed to fly business class and the women commercial class as if they were second class citizens compared to the men. The integration of both these tournaments briefly highlighted the overall outcome. Findings discovered that the women’s tournament only made £400,000 and it was discovered it was 16 times less to the men’s £5.6million.

Over 150 years ago, society viewed sports in the form of “Male Christianity on which they separated themselves from the Feminism side of Christianity”. This is because they viewed females playing sport as a “softness” on which was quoted by Tony Collins, who is the author of Sport in Capitalist Society. This means that they didn’t really think that women playing sport was in any way interesting. However, some sports have changed to allow equal pay to both genders. Chief Alex Gough who Is in charge of the Professional Squash Association. Says that “equal prize money is a massive step forwards that will make everyone be proud of”.

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Ruth Holdaway, CEO of Women in Sport, quoted that “females in sport are aiming to ensure that sport is being developed around and through equality. It is also to aim that sports can benefit from it, and other sports can introduce and allow change as well”. “By being able to understand gender discrimination, we are able to look into the problems and be able to achieve progress and work together in our environment and accept the changes”.

Following up on gender inequality is sexism in sport. An example of this is female football referees, for example a quote from an amateur male football player to a female referee “If women want equal fucking rights, then they really need to know how to referee a football match! What Alison is explaining here, is that the types of remarks that women get from men when refereeing a football match, which they have to contend with, can lead to harassment, discrimination and verbal abuse by male players.

Even though significant changes have been put in place to allow women same equality as men in sports, an example of this is women now being employed as officials and physiotherapists in many sorting areas. Female participation is still overshadowed by men in a male dominated area of sport like football, where referees and line judges are mainly male. When opportunities do arise, they often get greeted with hostility. An example of this is back in 2006, when Luton football manager Mike Newell publicly attacked and criticised both Amy Rayner, who was a football assistant and the Football Association (FA) for allowing her to referee the match.

He said “Amy Rayner doesn’t belong here, I know that sounds sexist, but I am sexist. We all know we have a problem with politics and everything, but allowing and bringing women into the football community isn’t the right way to improve our refereeing and officiating. It’s already bad enough that we’ve got bad linesman and referees, now we are bringing in women. We are going to have big problems”.

The attitude of sexism that Newell brought up was again brought into light during an off-air discussion between Andy Grey and Richard Keys, who were both caught talking about how women shouldn’t be a referee in football. According to an online survey, based upon on sports from football all the way down to aerobics, showed the basics of participation in a range of sports between male and females. It turned out that for the sports such as football, golf, basketball, softball, cycling, bowling and running had a higher percentage of male participants to female participants.

This can explain why there are less females officiating in sports such as football, as it is not their sport, or area that they don’t feel confident in. For example, an easy way of putting this, is that it would be reasonable for women to officiate or referee a sport that they are more confident in or have more knowledge of. Examples of this are aerobics, swimming, dancing and yoga.

Also, according to this data sheet, it figures that males should referee in sports such as football, softball and basketball. This is because again it is a sport, they are more focused on or have knowledge of. Yet the article also agrees with the proper training and knowledge an official should go through, both males and females will be able to officiate in the same sports and be treated equally instead of differently. This is because it doesn’t matter on what gender is officiating, they still are doing the same job, it doesn’t determine on which gender is better than the other. Yet since the government has put title IX in, on which allows and drives for equality in sports and for females to participate, there is still a huge lack of female participation in many sports.

This leads onto our next question, what can be done to allow more female participation in sports, to attract more female referees and close the gap on gender inequality. A good conclusion can be seen by action taken by the Olympics committees for the future of women in sport. This is because they have been able to move forward and accept females as equal to men in sports. Huge progress has been made moving forward promoting gender equality in terms of being able to equal out the number of both female and male athletes at the Olympic Games. They are now being able to offer and discuss leadership development amongst all athletes and by using more females in the leadership roles the levels of inequality should gradually show improvement. They are also are able to include awareness campaigns to encourage athletes to talk about and discuss gender inequality and talk about how they can make changes to improve the situation for the future.

Since sports is a huge icon and a great platform for females and girls to participate in sports it can empower gender equality. The leader of head of the Olympic Movement which is known as the ICO has decided to take action to perfect gender equality, which is a right of every human and athlete and huge Fundamental point of the Olympic Movement.

Across the world, many of the Olympic movement holders are discussing and implementing a lot of initiatives for gender equality. This is because they want women and young girls all over the world to feel that they have the same opportunity as men in all sporting criteria. An example of this would be able to referee tournaments and matches, where in some cases females are over shadowed by men. An example of this can be seen in cycling where the percentage of referees are 66% men and only 34% women. Yet even with all this going ahead, there are still vast changes that need to be implemented to have a bigger impact in the sporting world to create a better equality for women and girls in sports.

For the Olympic Agenda which is taking place in 2020, the ICO Gender equality programme has said that it had 25 recommendations launched in March 2018 and they are hoping to commit by implementing these making a huge difference in the sporting community, by providing ideas and solutions to tackle gender inequality. They hope to bring equality to females in the sporting world in the near future. They are hoping to achieve equality both on and off the sporting fields sooner rather than later, which can only be a very positive approach for the future of all women participating in sport.

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The Inequality Of Sports For Women. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from
“The Inequality Of Sports For Women.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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The Inequality Of Sports For Women [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from:
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