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End sexist scheduling of major sports to improve gender equality, urge experts

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Despite progress in gender equality in sport, ‘structural sexism’ is alive and well in the scheduling of major mixed-sex sporting fixtures, with women’s match finals invariably considered the ‘warm-up event’ for men’s, argue experts within an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

This not merely sends the message that women are second class citizens and athletes, but could also defer women and girls from embracing sports and a physically active lifestyle, they state.

It is time to end this traditional scheduling within a suite of ways of address sexism in sport, and enable women and girls to understand their full potential on / off the sports field, insist Dr. Klaus Gebel, University of Technology, Sydney, Professor Nanette Mutrie, University of Edinburgh, and Associate Professor Melody Ding, University of Sydney.

Despite substantial progress in women’s participation in sports originally considered ‘men only’ activities, such as for example football and pole vault, and in equal payall four tennis Grand Slam tournaments now provide same prize money to male and female players, for instance all over the world remain fighting for equality in a variety of areas of sport, say the authors.

“Structural barriers are ubiquitous, such as for example sexist uniform mandates, rules that force women to select between and competing, and impropriety against female athletes, and lower representation of ladies in sports governance, coaching, and journalism,” they write.

The scheduling of sports events is another of the barriers, they suggest, citing previous Olympic Games before Tokyo 2020 and almost all other mixed-sex sports, such as for example tennis, ping pong, and beach volleyball, where in fact the last two events will be the women’s and the men’s finalsin that order.

“These obstacles not merely hold female athletes back from achieving their full potential and being celebrated because the pinnacle of these sports, however they might also restrain girls and women all over the world from embracing sport and reaping the entire benefits of a dynamic lifestyle,” they suggest.

Globally, women are less physically active than men, prompting the planet Health Organization to encourage gender equality in sports within a strategy to lessen physical inactivity by 15% by 2030, they highlight.

Also, women’s sports continue steadily to receive much less media coverage than men’s, with organizers of major sports often scheduling men’s events at TV ‘prime time’ or at better venues, they explain.

Better TV coverage generates more revenues which result in better purchase athletes and much more team resources for the activity, they state. Female athletes’ lower visibility perpetuates a vicious cycle of less funding and fewer resources and opportunities, they argue.

A rethink is currently needed, say the authors, who ask the International Olympic Committee and all major sports federations all over the world that run mixed-sex sports events to implement “one small, yet potentially impactful change”to alternate the order of the men’s and women’s match finals every year.

This proposal doesn’t entail adding, dropping, or replacing coverage, so wouldn’t affect total viewership, they contend.

Nonetheless it would send a significant message “to girls and women all over the world that female athletes aren’t second-class athletes and women aren’t second-class citizens,” they write.

“It’s time to challenge the gender hierarchy in sport, also to explicitly and proudly demonstrate that the achievements of female athletes are as valued as those of male athletes,” and enable girls and women “to cultivate their full potential on / off the sports field,” they write.

This can require long-term commitment from a variety of stakeholders over the sector, including sports bodies, the media, the legal profession and the city most importantly, they state.

“Hopefully that through improving the visibility of women’s sport, as you component in a suite of ways of address sexism in sport, we are able to advance social norms and enhance the resources and opportunities for women and ,” they conclude.

More info: Another step towards gender equality: a demand ending structural sexism in the scheduling of sports events, British Journal of Sports Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-105379

Citation: End sexist scheduling of major sports to improve gender equality, urge experts (2022, August 30) retrieved 31 August 2022 from

This document is at the mercy of copyright. Aside from any fair dealing for the intended purpose of private study or research, no part could be reproduced minus the written permission. This content is provided for information purposes only.

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