“You should never stay at the same level. Always push yourself to the next.” – Marnelli Dimzon
Advantages from Women’s participation in Sports Events
The increasing rates of female athletes’ participation in sports events help counter gender biases. By participating in athletic events, women, achieve so much more: They boost their involvement in society and accelerate the progress towards gender equality while tearing down long-standing gender stereotypes. Furthermore, it has been observed that women that do sports and participate in athletic events are, besides improving their physical health, more likely to overcome biases, feel empowered and develop leadership skills. That been said, achievements and distinctions from famous female athletes also work as role models leading more young girls into sports, while ensuring the continuation of the road towards gender equality.
In sports events such as the Summer Olympic Games, it has been observed that nations also benefit from women participation. Many countries have improved their overall performance in athletic events due to their having achieved equality between genders thus rising female participation. More female athletes participating in the events, means more medals that will be brought home. In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, women from 29 countries won more total medals than men, including the USA, China, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, Hungary, Jamaica and Sweden.
Factors Influencing Girls to drop the Participation in Sports
Lack of access
Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have. Lack of physical education in schools and limited opportunities to play sports in both high school and college mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money.
Safety and transportation issues
Sports require a place to participate – and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, that means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away. And if there isn’t a safe option like carpooling with other families, the only option for a girl and her family may be to stay home.
Decreased quality of experience
As girls grow up, the quality level of their sports experience may decline. The facilities are not as good as the boys’ venues and the playing times may not be optimal. Equipment, and even uniforms aren’t funded for many girls’ programs at the same levels as boys so their ability to grow and enjoy the sport is diminished.
Lack of positive role models
To some girls, fitting within the mold that they are constantly told to stay in is more important than standing out. Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age; when that pressure isn’t offset with strong encouragement to participate in sports and healthy physical activity, the results may lead girls to drop out altogether.
School sports budgets are being slashed every day, all across the country. Fewer opportunities within schools mean families must pay to play in private programs while also footing the bill for expensive coaches, equipment and out-of-pocket travel requirements. This additional expense is just not possible for many families.
How can we encourage girls to participate in sports
Making time for exercise
Help girls make exercise a priority by showing them that finding time in their daily schedule to be active doesn’t have to be difficult. Provide tips for fitting physical activity into their day such as waking up early to get a walk in before school/work.
Studies show, girls are more likely to incorporate physical activity into their lives when their parents are active. Make fitness part of your family’s routine by going on family bike rides, taking an exercise class together, or organizing a family soccer game.
Provide encouragement and support
Help girls discover all of the ways they can be active. Whether it’s individual or team sports, dance classes, or organizing after-school walking groups, there are countless ways for girls to add physical activity to their daily schedules.
Encouraging girls to participate in sports at a young age will help them develop the skills and physical literacy they need to be confident in their abilities as they grow older. Starting sports in elementary school will help make physical activity a habit that can stay with girls into adulthood.
Support girls and women in sports
Help girls recognize that athleticism and femininity are not mutually exclusive and that sweat, hard work, and strength are not solely masculine realms. Support women’s sports by attending female sporting events or signing up to coach a girl’s youth team.
What drives women to play sports?
The most common answers relate to health and emotional benefits: stress relief, losing weight, feeling good about oneself, connecting with like-minded people or getting out of the house. And the most practised sports are jogging and cycling. The main difference from men’s reasons is that men add another variable to those listed above: competitiveness. In relation to the barriers women experience, words such as fear of failure, embarrassment, expense or injuries crop up. They also mention leaving their comfort zone as a handicap, but this is not a barrier, it is a motivation.
All you have to do is change your mindset, because sport has long since ceased to be a man’s game.
Women’s Sport Today
A total of 204 countries and regions, the largest number in Olympic history, participated in the Beijing Olympic Games. Among the 25 medals that Japan won, 12 were won by female athletes.
It seems that the gap between men and women in sport is getting much smaller when we look at women’s sport history. However, there are still definite issues that must be solved concerning women’s sport. For example, female athletes who must raise their family and children often face challenges of balancing athletic career and personal life. There is still a low ratio of female coaches and executives in sports organizations. In short, the number of female coaches who have the potential to become leaders has not increased yet.