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Women in Sports

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Women in Sports

Hina Qureshi

Version 2.0

        Historical evidence proves that women have been involved in sports since fourth century BC; but were not necessarily given the approval to participate.  Many restrictions were enforced to keep women out of these male activities and were continually reinforced until the twentieth century.  Women entering the world of sports were aware that they were placing themselves into a male dominated field. With their entrance into the sporting world, these women have opened themselves up to many different criticisms and to the possibility of exploitation within the media and from male authority figures. Women in sports are constantly striving for equality where hegemonic masculinity in social sporting institutions value male athleticism at the expense of female athletes.

        From a historical perspective there is evidence that provides a detailed accounting of the evolution female athletes have made in the sporting arena.  Throughout the decades of the twentieth century, women embarked on opportunities to fight for their equality. The suffrage movement brought forth the idea of women’s rights, which led to the “golden age of women’s sports” in 1920 (Simri 67).

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        The media’s depiction of female sporting events, also have a direct impact on the success of female athletes and their selected sport. The general media, consisting of photographers, editors and journalists, shapes ones thoughts and ideas on sports and athletic competition.  All three groups, regardless of sex, were found equally responsible for the under-represented coverage of female athletics (Pederson et al. 376). These views and opinions expressed in the media are then considered to be the norm amongst the dominant society according to that representation. The ability and power to shape the viewers opinions by presenting what’s culturally acceptable has led to viewer preferences for men’s sports. Without a similar level of support by the media, women’s sports have been very slow to develop an audience of their own. The audience that does participate in spectatorship consists of family members, friends and male viewers more interested in the women’s physical appearance then their athletic capabilities (Farhi).

The general public and specifically women want a personal connection to sports.

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Works Cited


Farhi, Paul “Women’s Pro Sports Marketed to Participants.”  Marketing to Women 14 (2001): 1089-2958.

Kirby, Greaves, and Hankivsky. “Women under the dome of silence: sexual harassment         and abuse of female athletes.” Canadian Women Studies, 2002; 132.

Pederson, P., Whisenant, W., & Schneider, R. “Using a Content Analysis to Examine the Gendering of Sports Newspaper Personnel and Their Coverage.”  Journal of Sports Management (October 2003): 376-393.

Simri, Uriel A Concise World History of Women’s Sports Netanya: Jerusalem, 1983

Vescio, J.A., Crosswhite, J.J., & Wilde, K.  “The relevance of sporting role models in the lives of adolescent girls.” ACHPER Healthy lifestyles journal, 2003: 31-36.

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