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  • Tashvi Shukla

Gender Inequality in Sports

Sports brings everyone together, no matter their age, religion or gender. Love for sports truly knows no barriers. However, gender discrimination is prevalent in this field too. I am sure we all know about Sachin Tendulkar, Lionel Messi and Lebron James and their achievements but a lot of people don't know about the achievements of Mithali Raj, Mary Kom and Steffi Graf. In fact, when you google ‘cricket players’, only the names of men show up. Why do we tend to overlook the achievement of women in their respective fields? It is simply because men are assumed to be “better” than women at sports because sports are associated with masculine imagery and superiority of men and to reinforce inferiority of women, who are assumed to be weak and fragile.

The media coverage of sports is extremely sexist as well. In most interviews, women are asked weird questions about their families but the men are asked questions about their game. In fact, in an interview, Eugenie Bouchard, tennis player, was asked to twirl to show off her outfit. The interviewer could have simply asked her questions about her game, however, he chose to ask a degrading question.

There was a #CoverTheAthlete movement to call out all the stupid questions asked to female athletes. Male athletes were asked the same questions and they were extremely shocked at the questions.

The pay gap is one of the most overt areas of prejudice, as women remain far behind men when it comes to being paid. An example of this is the enormous difference between the highest paid players in men’s and women’s cricket in India – the BCCI pays Smriti Mandhana 68.5 thousand USD which is 7% of Virat Kohli’s income of 952 thousand USD.

These differences between pay as well as interviews are for many reasons. One main reason is that women began playing sports long after men had already begun playing them, due to various societal restrictions. Another reason is that the fanbase for sports is mainly men and they tend to prefer male sports over female sports, an action deeply rooted in misogyny.

It's time to demand fair pay and equal media coverage for women in sports.

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