Women and Sports

October 7, 2017

Your school probably has several soccer and basketball teams. There are girls’ soccer teams, boys’ soccer teams, and sometimes even coed teams. Everyone plays, wins, loses, and learns to do better next time.

Well, things are a little different for adult professional sports players. While rules of the game remain the same, women are treated a bit differently than men in sports. For example, there are still sports in the world that won’t allow or encourage women to play. And while some sports have professional women’s teams, female athletes do not get the same amount of money or coverage as male athletes. So what are some people doing to break down gender differences? This week, we’re taking a look at various sports to find out more.

Lindsey Vonn

By Gerwig Loffelholz (Gerwig Loffelholz) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
American skier Lindsey Vonn wants to compete against men in a downhill race next winter. Vonn regularly trains with men skiers and often beats them, but historically women have never competed with men in skiing. Why does she want to try? According to Vonn, “It’s a way to test myself against the best.” (Notice how she said “the best” and not the best women?) Will the International Ski Federation agree? They are hearing her arguments this month, but the decision will not be made until later in the year. Do you think she will get to compete with men?

Female Umpire for a Men’s Game

By Rae Allen from Brisbane, Australia (20141217_101551) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
How often do you see a woman officiate a men’s cricket match? The answer is rarely, but Umpire Claire Polosak will make history in Australia this week by becoming one of only four female umpires to ever officiate men’s cricket. Women’s cricket fans believe this will send a strong message to the world of cricket, and help women become more accepted in this and other sports.

Andy Murray Suggests Mixed Games


English tennis player Andy Murray has often spoken up for women in sports. He has talked about why prize money for both men’s and women’s game should be equal (men’s prize money is currently higher). He also believes that playing mixed sports (where boys and girls play together, not separately) is a great step towards gender equality. Interesting thought!

No Hijab, No Chess?

In Iran, Islamic women are required to wear a hijab (or headscarf) in public, but men are not required to do the same. Dorsa Derakhshani, a grandmaster in chess, was told that she had to wear a headscarf if she wanted to play for Iran (her home country) in chess tournaments. She refused and was banned from playing for Iran. What did she do? She joined the United States Chess Federation and can now continue to play chess … without a headscarf.