Representation of Women in Intercollegiate Athletics

Subject: Gender Studies
Type: Profile Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1625
Topics: Gender Roles, Management
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The representation of women in sports has been on the low since time immemorial. Sports have been considered a man’s activity while the women are viewed as spectators and mothers of the society. As a result female athletes have not garnered as much publicity as their male counterparts. Efforts and infrastructure have been put in place to push the involvement of women in sports management, but the success is nothing to talk about as compared to that of men. The society seems to hold on to a concept that women are not just made for sports. At the same time, the diversity of women sports is not as vast as the men sports on the international level. Additionally, the number of female athletes does not in any way compare to that of men. The number of sports teams in men largely outdo that of women teams in all sports. Even in sports where women excel, they are not given as much attention as the men would have received. For instance, following the FIFA women world cup of 2010, the American women team won the trophy. Nonetheless, the amount of payment they received is far eclipsed by what the men’s team earn as much as they have never won the trophy in their history. The limited involvement of women in sports is best explained by the limited number of women involved in coaching activities. It is so dire that even women teams are coached by male coaches. Promoters have also done very little promote women sports as compared to the massive investments that are invested in men sports. Currently, the men sports is a multi-billion industry with players being traded for millions of money while the women sports barely have leagues where they can compete and get paid deservingly. The following four articles will help in breaking down the subject further.

The article Women and Sport highlights the psychology behind the reason why women are least involved in sports. It looks at why men are more involved in sports from time immemorial and why women have continually been left out of sports. It explains the various standpoints both males and females take regarding women involvement in sports management. Firstly it states that the psychology of the society in women being less involved in men is the aggression construct that men possess over women towards sports (Oglesby, 1989). All types of sports are accompanied by a certain degree of aggression which differs in all sports with some being very aggressive while others are mildly aggressive. Men showed that they thrive more in the intensive aggression while women on the other hand aggression seemed to discourage them in being involved in aggressive activities. As a result, there are limited females in sports as compared to the aggressive men. Sports are further considered a masculine context which men use to express their masculinity. Women possess the femininity complex which is rather reserved and careful in all manner. Women seem to prefer situations where they are rather relaxed and composed other than being involved in strenuous masculine activities hence the limited involvement in field activities (Oglesby, 1989). Further, sports were traditionally used as a man’s way of passing knowledge of patriarchal values from one level of men to another and among teammates. It was used as a tool of shaping the morality of men along the lines of being dominant over females. It was an instrument of socialization for men and women continually respected this standpoint as their ways of passing knowledge from one female to another was at home from mother to daughter and other limited avenues. As a result, sports have remained a man’s thing where they can relax and catch up leaving no room for women hence their limited involvement.

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The article Sexy versus strong highlights how women themselves view female athletes. In this article, research was conducted to establish the stand of women’s view on female athletes. The research had a total of 258 adolescent girls aged between 12 and 18 and college girls aged between 18 and 22 years. In the experiment, the athletes themselves were asked their opinion of themselves and fellow women competitors. The appraised their efforts of rising above gender stereotypes and establishing themselves as professionals. On the other hand, the girls praised the efforts of the female athletes as phenomenal for standing out against all the odds to establish themselves in sports. Some of them even considered them to be role models to many other young girls who might have the talent in sports but lack the courage and support to step up. Nonetheless, there was the sharp critique of women being in sports gear promoted sexism in women. The women in sports costumes were viewed encouraging nudity among women which has been used the world over to objectify women for a long time and as a result majority would rather stay out of sports (Daniels, 2012). From the article, it is evident the struggle to increase the number of women in sports is far from over since not only do men inhibit the success of women in sports but a lot of other women pull down their fellow women viewing sports as a way of objectifying women even further. It is clear that women enjoy being pretty and sexy but will fight any motion that is seen to objectify this prettiness including sports and the sports costumes in general.

The article; Female athletes, women’s sport, and the sports media commercial complex looks at the development of women in sports and how their numbers have increased. It looks at how the media treats both the male sportspersons from the female sportspersons. The article terms the 2012 London Olympic Games as the year of women in sports. The naming came about following the large turnout in the number of women delegates and women athletes in the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was noted that during the event the number of female participants made up 45% of the total (Fink, 2015). They were notably present in all competitions which in itself was a huge milestone in the development of women in sports. Nonetheless, the large number of turn out did not receive as much media attention as compared to the male athletes. The media did not seem to cover the female stars as much as it did on the male counterparts. The number of promoters and sponsors in the event did not give much attention to the women regardless of the exemplary performance they put up. Showing little attention to the females and more to the males was thought to have an adverse impact on the image of women athletes and their sports as well. It diminished their value in the eyes of the spectator and would be considered the second class to the male sports professionals which further, discourages women from engaging in sports or sports management.

The article; the experiences of high-performance women coaches: A case study of two Regional Sports Organizations analyses the experience of women coaches. In the research, experiences were examined via thorough investigation of organizational values that are a basis of women coaches. The organizational values are essential in determining the coaches, managers and the experiences. As a result, it was the management that decided on what coach was suitable regarding their policies and the organization’s long-term goals. In determining the outcome, research was done on two Regional Sports Organizations in New Zealand where differences and similarities were keenly noted regarding women coaching experiences (Shaw & Allen, 2009). The outcome was that in a few cases, the coach would shape the organization’s approach as much as in many cases the coaches have to conform to the organization’s plan. It was notable that organizations plans have been the biggest hurdle to many women involving themselves with sports management as a majority of the organizations look for a male figure to lead their teams. The women’s experience in coaching was however overwhelming in cases where they shaped the organization’s philosophies, but the cases were few to encourage more women into sports.

Concluding, women involvement in sports has been growing gradually with more women being involved in sports at all levels from participants to managers. However, the societal culture pulls back their efforts as the society seems to define sports as a man’s territory as per the first article. For women to get involved more in sports, a lot of changes need to be instituted including a better infrastructure to monitor developments. Additionally, women ought to be their number one supporters in sports more accurately because according to article two they have been pulling themselves down with claims of objectifying women with the costumes. Sports promoters and the media as well have played a big role in belittling the efforts of women in sports by giving limited attention to them while they invest money and time to cover male sports professionals. The notion needs to change for media and promoters to attach as much importance to the women sports just as much as they do with men to increase the credibility of women sports to the consumers.

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  1. Daniels, E. A. (2012). Sexy versus strong: What girls and women think of female athletes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,33(2), 79-90.
  2. Fink, J. S. (2015). Female athletes, womens sport, and the sport media commercial complex: Have we really “come a long way, baby”? Sport Management Review,18(3), 331-342.
  3. Oglesby, C. A. (1989). Women and sport. Sports, Games, and Play: Social and Psychological Viewpoints, 129.
  4. Shaw, S., & Allen, J. B. (2009). The experiences of high performance women coaches: A case study of two Regional Sport Organisations. Sport Management Review,12(4), 217-228.
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