Sports has been associated with gender stereotypes throughout history, and there are still misconceptions regarding sport in many communities based on fanciful ideas and misinformed theories. Initially, many believed that sports are a complete waste of time. Gradually the sentiment changed, and until a certain time, it was considered only as an interesting pastime. With the emergence of more professional sports personalities, sports are being considered a source of fitness and a full-time profession. However, sports is still full of mainstream male players, and we can still find gender stereotypes in the cases of female players.
There are different reasons and preferences for people to participate in sports as hobbies or professions, but a woman wanting to pursue sports is faced with many questions influenced by the lack of support and obstacles in her way. There is not just one set of social groups or rules; rather, it includes everything from their age, relationship status, children, religious beliefs, work commitments, background, or access to resources.
In contrast to sports in which people are advised to cultivate muscle bulk and masculine physical appearance, women are encouraged to take care of their skin and physical appearance.
The social curriculum discourages young females from participating in physical activities from an early age, and they remain discouraged in the long run if they choose to take up sports activities.
Some religions and cultures have laws or expectations that make participating in sport more difficult especially for women. In the past, it was viewed as highly inappropriate for women to participate in sports, but nowadays these arguments are disregarded, and women participate in most sports, but with some restrictions, mostly related to clothing. Some performers wear a full-body covering when participating in order to conform to the religious laws of their culture. Most importantly, conservative families do not allow girls to engage in their interests because of cultural norms, and many talented athletes remain undiscovered or suppressed due to cultural barriers.
It is a common occurrence to encounter gender discrimination in sports.
Discrimination results in unfair treatment of different categories of people because of differences in race, gender, age, or ability. Female athletes face more disadvantages since they are unequally treated. Lack of proper training facilities, unavailability of separate practice fields, restrictions with free travel, and fewer opportunities in commercial tournaments are among the issues. Female players are often treated differently from male players regarding missing training, being treated in the hospital, receiving lower salaries, or even taking pay cuts.
Gender stereotypes and prejudices contribute to inequality in sports, leading to sizeable differences in salaries and inadequate training and resources for female sports teams. There is a general lack of sponsorship for female teams, and this causes a low number of women tournaments and female categories to be included in international competitions. Big organizations and sponsoring companies invest less in female teams since it is less profitable. This results in discrimination with prize money, salaries, opportunity exposure, and recognition.
Many brands employ athletes to advertise their products, but few of these brands hire female athletes to be the faces of their campaigns. Most companies prefer men because they are more popular and are considered profitable inclusions for the brands. We can observe a similar scenario in the mainstream media, where more attention is focused on male stars and men’s only events than on women’s sports.
Therefore, to rectify the historical injustice of women in sports, we must change the perception in all relevant criteria. There is much to unlearn: erasing the discrimination against women, removing cultural misconceptions, creating more intriguing platforms for aspiring players, and respecting and letting women players be given equal recognition. Our focus should not just be on men; we would do well to remember that women can also play and contribute well to the world of sports.
A positive spirit of sportsmanship and a positive attitude on the playing field entails equity.