GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN SPORTS

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“Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.” A major issue that has recently emerged in the upcoming years is gender discrimination, specifically in the sports industry. Gender discrimination, also known as sexual discrimination, is any action that specifically denies opportunities, privileges, or rewards to a person (or a group) because of gender. The practice of letting a person’s gender become a factor when deciding who receives a job or promotion is gender discrimination. So coming back to the topic, how many of you watch the Women’s Cricket World Cup Championship or  Women’s Hockey World Cup? Very few people watch these women-centric sports championships. Why is that? Is it because women are less talented?

The root cause of all this is the lack of proper marketing and promotion. Washington Mystics player Elena Delle Donne told in one of her interviews “When you put millions of dollars into marketing athletes and allowing fans to get to know a player they develop a connection with someone or something you are more engaged and continue to want to see/learn more. How is anyone going to get to know me or any of my colleagues if we aren’t marketed as much?”, explaining to us the plight of female athletes. This inadequate investment in promoting women’s sports leads to a smaller fanbase for the same. This further promotes inequality in revenue of male and female athletes.

According to a 2018 Statista report, women’s sports receive only 0.4% of total sponsorships. 

The various sports organizations then go on to blaming the inequality in compensation on less revenue generated through women’s sports. In the N.B.A.(National Basketball Association), a multibillion-dollar industry where players often make millions, the minimum starting salary is about eight times what the average W.N.B.A.( Women’s  National Basketball Association) player makes. But in 2015 the US women’s soccer team won the World Cup, it was revealed that the US women’s team were paid a quarter of what the men earned. This was despite the women generating $20m more than the men that year. This event led to filing a case against the US Soccer for the wage discrimination act. They said “institutionalized gender discrimination” affected not only their paychecks, but also where they played and how often, how they trained, the medical care and coaching they received, and even how they travelled to matches.

Women have fought many battles to have equal rights in the sports industry. In 1967 women weren’t allowed to officially enter the Boston Marathon, so Kathrine Switzer entered that year as “K.V. Switzer” to hide her gender. She finished the race even after an official tried to eject her from the race. In 2007 Switzer wrote in the New York Times, “We learned that women are not deficient in endurance and stamina and that running requires no fancy facilities or equipment,” 

This battle for equality in this patriarchal society will go on for years. The only solace is that now people are recognizing this problem and working on this to bring about a change.

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