Today is International Women’s Day, so I thought it would be relevant to ponder the role of women in sports. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I’m passionate about equality for women (and often share inspirational images from the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign… I love the campaign although I hate the slogan – surely it should be ‘this woman can’?!)
Did you know that the world’s first recorded female-only sporting event was the Heraean games in Athens in 776BC? However, women weren’t invited to take part in the Olympics until 1900. At the games, women were only allowed to take part in three events: golf, tennis and cricket.
In the 20th century, there were a number of ground-breaking female athletes, including Gertrude Ederle (an American women who was the first female to swim the Channel in 1926) and Alice Coachman (the first black woman to win a gold Olympic medal in 1948). However, it took until the 2012 Olympic Games for every team to include at least one female competitor.
Further reading about women in sports
If you want to learn more about the role of women in sport, check out these links:
- Timeline of Women’s Sports (Wikipedia)
- Women Pioneers in Sports History
- 100 Women: Is the gender pay gap in sport really closing? (BBC)
- 83% of sports now give men and women equal prize money
- Women in sports and the gender pay gapÂ In many cases sportswomen earn less than their male counterparts, and womenâ€™s sport continues to attract smaller audiences than the menâ€™s games. Are female athletes competing on a level playing field?
- Does sport have a problem with women? (BBC)