There has never been a time from the dawn of human civilization to the present when women have been involved in sports, as participants and as spectators but not as much as men have. Are sports then a ‘male domain’ , a ‘masculine preserve’ ? Are the women in sports ‘unwelcome intruders’ ?
In a conservative society like India, married and unmarried women have to face objections and controversies while pursuing career in sports. Even if they win they are not given the due credit for their work as compared to men. The Indian women’s hockey team won a championship but was not given any monetary reward. [The Times of India, 21january,2010. Over the ILO’s report]. Though socio cultural factors account for gender differences, but this mindset is not only limited to India, but is sensed throughout the whole world.
Advertisements in sports section deal with commodities like shaving products, auto tyres, clothing and other items whose purchase is ordinarily decided by men. But the question stands still, that why such huge difference prevails ande still uncurbed. The following reasons may be a contributor :
1] It has been found by studies that female athletes are likely to be more aggressive than the women engaged in non competitive forms of recreation.
2] In 1890’s, even the medical experts debated on the issue that whether tough exercises endangered a girl’s capacity to conceive and bear children.
3] Sports historian such as Hening Eichberg and various feminist scholars used to say that menstruation, pregnancy, child birth, lactation and menopause create a different mindset for women.
But the times are changing now. 1920’s and 1930’s are regarded as ‘the golden era osf sports’. Even in 1895, Bergman ostenberg [of physical training college] who is known as female Darwinist commented that- “I try to train my girls to help raise their own sex and so to accelerate the progress of the race….for unless the women are strong, healthy, pure and true how can the race progress ? ”
Besides these reasons, a suburban wife in her thirties and forties is expected to remain physically attractive and sports are seen as a medium to stay fit . Nowadays more and more middle class wives and mothers are participating in sports as compared to their earlier generations. studies also show that those women participate more in sports who have the same family background and thus more talent is coming out.
The exploitation of female athletes for the enjoyment of the spectator, commercial advantage is being checked strictly by various women’s divisions organizations and feminist groups. In these positive changes the role played by media cant be neglected . Women sports magazines publication number is increasing day by day, as well as the broadcasting time of women sports is also increased as compared to the past.
Apart from serving as sports staff, women have also succeeded as observers, writers and interviewers according to their abilities. Thus women must be freed from their cultural constraints in order to finally realize their potential.
Women sports [Author : Allen Guttmann]
Emotional intelligence [Author : Daniel Goleman]