Involving oneself in sports is far more than just an engaging and healthy hobby. As research shows, an active participation in sports has a positive influence on a teenager’s social life, self-esteem, and even academic performance (Sitkowski, 2008). There is no doubt that sports are beneficial for boys and girls, women and men. However, it is perplexing that some 40 years ago, women and girls were close to being virtually deprived of the opportunity to play sports in universities, colleges, high schools and junior high schools. It was not until 1972, when Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment Act was passed, that women received equal rights to participate in sports at all educational institutions.
What does this mean for us today? Does it mean that every woman has the right to play any type of sport? Well, not quite. But it certainly means that every person, notwithstanding their gender, has an equal opportunity to try out for any team, or play a sport that an institution offers. Should there be a distinction between sports for women and sports for men? There are significant objections to this idea, as personal preferences, individual physical abilities, and infrastructural facilities of the community in which one resides that should be at the center of reasoning in regard to which sport is chosen over another.
From a physiological perspective, both male and female players are equally able to play all sports. There are fewer and fewer Olympic Games sports that are still strictly men-only or women-only. Women can box or take part in car racing, just like men can do synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics. If some kind of sport is more popular among female or male players, this does not imply that the other gender cannot perform in the sport. Furthermore, according to law, if there is no female baseball team in a high school, a girl can try out for the boys’ team, even though a boy cannot do the same for a girls’ team since boys are the over-represented sex in sports (Collor, Sports Genders in the US). The main point here is that trends and public opinion on different sports tend to change over time, and the general momentum is towards making all sports equally available to both sexes, since there are no objective reasons to consider any sport to be gender-specific.
Supporting a social stereotype that boys, in comparison to girls, are more interested in sports is simply propagating an absolute myth. There is not one single research study that validates this idea (Regal, Lack of Research Claims in Gender Sports). The fact is that girls are just as interested in sports as boys are at an early age, on the whole. But because of social influences, traditional values, and peer pressure, girls eventually become more sedentary in their activities and games. As a result, in time, girls become accustomed to more calm pastimes and are less willing to play active sports. Other factors that greatly influence a girl’s choice of leisure are upbringing and their parents’ example, as well as the opportunities present in the local community. As a rule, the more developed a community is, both economically and socially, the less difference is seen statistically in gender division in sports.
At the same time, it would be wrong to argue that female and male motivation for sports, and their physical abilities, is absolutely the same. There is a reason why female and male championships, tournaments, and sports associations are run separately. A female tennis player would have a small chance of beating a male tennis player of the same rank, simply because men can generally hit the ball with more force than women can. It has nothing to do with training and effort—it is purely the nature of our bodies, and ignoring it would be a terrible mistake (Hiden, Gender Debates). Another side of the coin is motivation. As research has shown, females, in general, are more naturally motivated by self-improvement and goals related to team success, while men are more attracted to the idea of winning a challenge, or a competition more than anything else. Once again, not more than general statistical facts and aspects that may differ on a personal level. But these are points that need to be acknowledged when talking about the differences in male and female athletics and the way girls and boys should be coached.
Engaging in sports is an important benefit that no human being should be deprived of in a modern society, whether based on racial, age, or gender characteristics of the person. Sports allow youth to believe in themselves, widen their circle of friends and acquaintances, as well as introduce them to an activity they might be willing to later make their profession or lifetime hobby. Discriminating against boys or girls accessing the wide variety of sporting activities would be completely unjust. The only objective reasons to choose one sport over another are personal preferences, individual physical abilities, and infrastructural facilities of the community in which one resides.
Sitkowski, L. (2008). The Effects of Participation in Athletics on Academic Performance Among High School Sophomores and Juniors. Lynchburg, Va.: Liberty University.
Stewart, C. (2008) Should Boys & Girls Be Coached the Same Way? Becoming a Better Coach. Available at: http://www.coachesinfo.com/
Collor, Richard. (2007) Sports Genders in the US. Lenguin Press.
Regal, Ella. (2012) Lack of Research Claims in Gender Sports. Dadalas Publishing.
Hiden, Eleanor. (2009) Gender Debates. The New York Host.
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Writing a Persuasive Essay
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Inequality in sports has been an issue ever since women were introduced to sports. Women still today strive to have men and women’s sports equal, and there are many reasons that prove women deserve everything that men do. While researching the differences in wages and respect of male athletes vs. women’s athletes, I found out a lot of proven facts why women deserve equality. Some of the reasons why women and mens sports should be equal are women work just as hard as men or even harder. Also some of women’s events are bringing in more of an audience than some of mens events. And lastly women deserve to be treated equal to men because they sell just as much merchandise as men. Gender shouldn’t determine how much much money someone makes or how they get treated, everyone should be treated the same.
Many people may say that women don’t work as hard as men, that’s why they don’t get paid the same. But I disagree. In women’s sports women train just as much as men and play the same amount of games as men. For example the U.S women’s National soccer team has qualified for every world cup and olympics, winning 3 world cups and 4 gold medals. Where the men have not qualified for every world cup or olympics, and have not won either event. This shows that the U.S Women’s soccer team is actually playing more games and training more than the men because they qualify for more events. So wouldn’t you assume that the team that trains harder and plays more games would get paid more? Well that’s not true. For the 2015 Women’s world cup, the U.S Women’s national team won the world championship and only brought home $2 million. Where the U.S mens national team took 11th in the tournament and brought home $9 million. That is more than 4 times as much as the women earned winning the tournament. Hard work and results should pay more than being a certain gender.
Fans and audiences bring in a lot of money to sporting events, which is a big part of professional athletes pay wage. Which is another reason why people say women don’t get paid the same as men because they don’t have as many fans and don’t bring in as big of an audience as mens events do. In some cases yes, men do bring in bigger audiences than women, but that is changing. For example in the Women’s World Cup game USA vs. Japan there was 25.4 million viewers, making it the most watched women’s soccer event in U.S history. It even took down the more popular U.S professional sports finals, like the NBA finals and the Stanley Cup finals (7.6 million viewers). This proves that women are now bringing in the same amount or even more ticket sales than men. Which should result in equal pay.
Merchandise sales are always a huge part in an athletes salary. Merchandise is also based on how many fans there are for that team or organization. In some of women’s sports like basketball and tennis they don’t come close to the same merchandise sales as the men do, which gives them a reason to be paid less. But women’s soccer is changing the game. The U.S women’s national team sold more than 3 times as much merchandise as the men have in the last three years. Which should be rewarded with equality. But equality has not found its way to women’s sports yet. But slowly times are changing and mens sports are not always the dominant sport, women’s sports are catching up and slowly getting what they deserve.
As inequality continues in todays sports, women are striving to get what they deserve. Women have proven that they deserve everything that men receive and there are facts that prove them right. As women are working harder than men, bringing in more ticket sales than men, and selling more merchandise than men they will one day get what they deserve. People may wonder what they can do to help women get equal pay. Here are some ways you can help. You can attend women’s sporting events, support companies that advocate for women’s athletics, and encourage television stations and newspapers to cover women’s sports. Inequality should be an issue that gets resolved because gender shouldn’t determine pay or respect, hard work and winning should.