Since a very young age, we are told that being physical, tough or “sporty” lies in the realm of masculinity. But globally, women are changing that narrative. In India, especially, women have come into the limelight with the last two, and only Olympic medals from Rio being brought home by women. So this time around Vitamin Stree took a closer look at the hurdles women face on their track to becoming pro athletes.
Sexism is topping the charts for the greatest hurdle faced by women in sports. With Ada Hegerberg being asked to twerk after winning the Ballon d’or to Sania Mirza being asked when she would like to settle down on a news show, there is an ingrained bias in society that women can’t perform on the field, or even worse, that they aren’t made for it.
Coming in a close second is the pay gap in sports—it’s even greater than the pay gap in the worlds of business and medicine. According to the BCCI, Indian grade “A” women cricketers earn 1/10th of their male counterparts. With the gap being so unbridgeable, women don’t even consider sports to be a suitable profession.
Out of the women who actually make it to the top, only a handful are covered in the media. Media coverage remains one of the most noticeable differences between men’s and women’s sports perpetuating the story that women’s sports aren’t worth covering. This urges us to ask the question, why don’t we see more women?
Women are hardly represented, not just in the media but also in boardrooms. The Indian Olympic Committee scores just 3.5% in women’s representation with some other sports committees even scoring a resounding 0. Women can only be represented on the field if they are represented in the boardroom first. Otherwise, this game will always be one-sided.
Women have consistently proven that they deserve to be as much in an arena, field, track or court, as men. Since Billie Jean King’s victory in the Battle Of Sexes, the graph has only gone up for women in sports. Today we are winning accolades globally and nationally, reaching top positions on international leaderboards with Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Mary Ko, P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and a host of other women proudly representing female athletes. It’s on all of us to make way for women in sports and give them a platform to perform and win our hearts because that is what sports is all about!
Watch the full video here