Gender Differences In Sports
The recent misogynist remarks by the Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore once again remind us of the glaring reality of gender discrimination in sports.
The Olympic Games opened its doors to women athletes after more than two decades in 1920. The euphoric ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match fought between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973 tweaked the idea of male supremacy in high voltage tasks.
What differences do we see between sportswomen and sportsmen?
The four grand slams are an exception in offering equal pay. Ironically big wigs like Novak Djokovic are lobbying hard to reverse the prize money to the traditional proportions with men receiving a better deal.
Other sports are still struggling with gender pay gaps. Did you know that our Indian women cricketers fetch a fee of Rs. 2500 to play a domestic match, that is one-fourth of the Rs. 10,000 paid to their male counterparts.
Sponsors Prefer Men
When it comes to sponsors, women sportspersons are at the losing end, sometimes choosing alternatives to keep rolling. Glaring examples are Sita Sahu and Nisha Rani Dutt who won laurels for the nation in athletics and archery respectively, but, turned to menial jobs like selling golgappas to fend for a living. Even five time World boxing champion Mary Kom echoes the same sentiment when she says, “I had no support, no opportunity, no sponsors backing me for most of my career.”
Low Budget Allocation
The budget allocation for women’s team are so low that the Indian women’s cricket team has to make do with used kits leftover by the men. Their basic requirements are also bypassed citing “monetary crunch”, as was done during the England tour in 2009 when they were not provided warmers.
Access To Training Facilities
The women in sports are ignored in subtle ways. The Indian women cricket team hardly gets the chance to hone their skills through practice matches. The apathy became clear when the venue of the women’s World Cup in 2013 was shifted from Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to give way to the men’s final Ranji match.
Hardly Any Media Coverage
Six years ago, when Sachin scored the record breaking double century in the one-day international (ODI) against South Africa, the media grappled to cover every bit of the story. But do we know that Belinda Clark (Australia) accomplished the same feat against Denmark on the Indian soil in 1997 before him?
Women’s sports that do catch the media’s fancy are gymnastics during the Olympics or Tennis during the grand slams, the so-called feminine and glamorous sports respectively.
If a woman is aggressive on the playfield, how many times is the question raised as to whether it is actually a man disguised in a woman’s body? It was only in the 1996 Atlanta Games that women were spared sex verification.
Nonetheless, Pinki Pramanik and Santhi Soundarajan, the gold and silver medallists respectively at the 2006 Doha Asian Games highlight the shameless hostility of the patriarch society towards promising women players.
What will it take for women in sports in India to be on an equal platform?