Gender Inequality in Sport

by Claire Pitt

Inequalities in Sport 19th Century

Sport has been forever changing since the start of the 19th century to the present day, more so for women. In the 19th century sport developed through industrial capitalism and class inequality. The workers or general population who were in a high social class were able to take part in sport as they had the funding to access certain sports and had the money to keep particpating. Sport was mostly played not for reward but a persons own sake.

In 1896 Baron Pierre de Coubertin stated that 'no matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks. This outlook on women in sport proved to set a barrier for years to come as women were looked upon as the one who stayed at home to look after the children etc. Especially those women of more poor families they would not partake in sport at all. Women of families in a higher social class played sport but did not take part competitively.

Men of a higher social class were able to play sport more competitvely but again not for rewards just their own sake as they had the money to be able to access the facilities.

Women taking part in sport was frowned upon as many people looked at it as the women masculinating themselves.

Inequalities in sport in the 20th and 21st Century

In the 1920's, opportuniteis for women to participate in sport were continually diminished. Genrally in the 19th century women were only allowed to take part in sport if it was a recreational sports day, because it was thought that too much exertion or sport on a females body would result in masculinitity. When women took part in sport they played it down from being competitive and made it more social.

As the years moved on and the Great Depression hit America and more women went to work to support their families, factories used to put leagues together for women to take part in, this lead to female educators stating that exercise was good for women and their overall health.

During world war II when significant portions of the mens population went to war, this made many opportunities for women to take part in sport, esepcially during the college years. This then lead to the feminist movement, which was women being looked at more equally especially when it came to college sport and the sports became more advanced.

In about the 1970's it came round that men and women would get equal funding in sport and equal distribution of sports scholarships, this was known as title IX.

This lead to different organisations fighting to keep equal distirbutions of scholarships and funding.

21st Century

In the 21st Century gender inequaities still stand today, for example in the olympics women still do not participate in every single sport. Although women did for the first time ever at the 2012 olympics take part in sports such as boxing etc. People are still fighting for womens equal rights such as equal pay in certain sports.