Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




How Female Competitors Are Breathing New Life Into Sports

Posted on March 18, 2021 by Amaia Twain

Sports is changing its game face—turning an optimistic gaze towards women and the issues they represent. Women play and win in the Olympics, major leagues, and other international competitions. More of their games can be seen on television and online. There are huge audiences gathered in stadiums to cheer and support their games.  

True, women are making strides in various sports, conquering game after game, and winning seemingly impossible feats. They’re medalists, champions, and ambassadors to show young girls and other women that they can excel in sports.

Amidst the glitz of shiny medals and the sparkle of huge trophies, roaring crowds, and confetti, women are now leading their own to address issues of gender equality in sports. They’re breathing new life into sports by championing equal pay, equal training opportunities, scholarships, and facilities. 

In short, they’re using ‘girl power’ to claim their rights and ensure aspiring female athletes are given a fair chance. Society and sports organizations are listening and addressing these needs in the world of sports and beyond.  

Breathing Life Into Sports 

Women have come a long way from their first appearance in the Olympics. From 22 female athletes in the 1900s, there were 5,059 female athletes in the 2016 Olympics. They comprise 40% of sportspeople worldwide and excel in various sports such as basketball, boxing, football, skiing, soccer, and tennis.

Recent triumphs in women’s sports include US national teams’ back-to-back wins in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics for Hockey and Soccer World Cup in 2019. 

They’re also attracting more viewers, with 84% of general sports fans showing an interest in women’s sports.  Examples of increasing viewership include the 2018 World Cup audience share of 22% higher than Men’s Finals. 

In 2019, the AFL Women’s Grand Finals recorded 53,000 fans in attendance, the highest number for a women’s sporting event. More and more audiences are interested in women’s sports, and despite the pandemic, exposure in television and social media led to increased viewership. 

Aside from increasing participation and increased media coverage, sporting brands also realize the potential of women’s sports. They’re now turning women athletes into brand ambassadors to spread awareness and encourage women of all ages to participate in competitive sports. 

Increasing Support 

One of the most recent initiatives in expanding women’s sports includes the story posted here: https://www.womenssportdaily.co.uk/article/2020/07/23/sport-england-wants-euro-2022-get-more-women-playing-football. Elsewhere, government and various sports organizations are addressing women’s concerns about equality. They’re making considerable efforts to address the need for equal pay and equal opportunities for training, scholarships, equipment, and facilities. 

Compensation is the primary concern of women athletes. For years, women athletes and coaching staff are paid less compared to their male counterparts. Now, efforts are being made to address the wage disparity. In 2019, the Australian Matildas and Socceroos received an equal 24% share of accumulated revenues with a 1% increase each year. China and Ireland have also pledged support to their women’s national teams.

Another benchmark is the signing of a collective agreement by the WNBA to a three-fold increase of top players’ salaries and a rise in average wages to more than six figures. In hockey and soccer, officials are also looking into closing the wage gap. Aside from equal pay, most sports are now providing the same prizes for men and women.

Women’s attitudes are leveling the playing field as they strive to reach viewers and fans alike. They’re also looking into encouraging young girls to take part in sports. Women’s sports rely on increased media coverage through TV, online, and social media not only to increase viewership, but also create interest in the younger generation. 

Grassroots clubs for soccer and football provide new avenues while increasing the number of sports scholarships that allow athletes to pursue their dreams. The creation of leagues across the world ensures that women can land a professional contract afterward.    

Coaching positions are also welcoming more women in their ranks. Sara Cox is the first referee to officiate a Premiership Rugby match. Sports experts are forecasting this continued trend in the next five to twenty years. Aside from this, they also predict that women’s sports will ensure women’s continuity even if they already have children and families. They believe that positive changes will continue to make women’s sports more entertaining and inspiring.  

Conclusion

Women are changing the sports landscape by showing their ability to triumph individually and as teams. They’re turning tables in their favor to eliminate inequalities gradually. They aspire for change to receive equal pay and better opportunities, and it looks like girl power is paying off. Leagues and countries are pledging support and opening up additional avenues to encourage young girls to engage in sports. Women are leading women by participating and excelling in sports and ensuring fair game now and in the years to come. 

Amaia Twain

Amaia Twain is a sports enthusiast who dedicates her time to women coaching through her guest posts. She is an athlete, passionate about increasing women’s awareness of the benefits of sports. Her life revolves around sports, and she has written several articles, providing tutorials and coaching to her readers.  

Amaia is a mother of two boys. During her free time, she still stays active by playing volleyball and basketball with her sons and husband. She has a lovely family and a cute Shih Tzu named Sabrina.  

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