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Achieving gender equality in sports

Over the last decade, female participation in sports has witnessed a sharp increase. Every Olympics so far, the percentage of women part slightly grew. This sign of minimizing the gap between the genders is, of course, positive. However, completely balancing out the sexes within sports is a lengthy process and will only be achieved when live women sports are as globally recognized as live men sports by media companies and its spectators.

As mentioned in an earlier post, 2018 is the year that not a single woman made it to the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world.  It is important to know that 82% of the list consists out of team sports athletes, but it clearly indicates the inequality, since the percentage of female presence is not even remotely close to 50%.

Taking the Tour de France as an example. This summer Thomas Geraint took the first place and won $582,000 which will boost his salary to approximately €4 million. Looking at the female division of the Tour de France we are able to see… nothing, because there is no such thing as a female division for the Tour de France. Instead of the three weeks and the 3,351 km long track that took winner Thomas Geraint 83hrs 17min and 13secs, Tour de France organized a “female friendly” version (La course) with a duration of only 1 day and 118 km length, which took winner Annemiek van Vleuten 3hrs 20mins 43secs to complete.

This difference in toughness is also presented in prize money, for Le Tour de France around €2.25 million in prize money was paid, for La Course, the total prize money amounted €27.500. In addition, the live TV coverage in, for instance, the United States seemed like a bad joke. Former pro cyclist Kathryn Bertine stated that “Only the last kilometre was televised,” and “In the States, the only way to see the whole race was to buy a subscription to NBC Sports Gold (a stand-alone online streaming service for $49.99).

The biologically determined facts that men on average have greater muscle mass, denser and stronger bones, tendons and ligaments, larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass and a higher red blood cell count, shouldn’t mean the exclusion of relatively equal contests for woman in terms of contest size, media attention and prize money.

The world of sports is facing in the right direction as more men and woman stand up and work for equality in sports. So far, the International Olympic Committee is the prime example of how it should be done. The moment that media companies are going to adapt will come as well. Until then, the lack of visibility on TV will prevent companies to invest in endorsement deals and equal sponsorship opportunities for female athletes.

SportyCo believes in equal rights to economic resources since entrée fees, travelling expenses, material costs and coaching expenses are the same among the sexes. Are you an athlete or you know one that is in need of funding to optimally develop him/herself in their sport? Don’t hesitate to fill in our application form, or contact us on [email protected].

Sources: World Economic Forum, Forbes, MedCrave, Outside, Fortune, Daily Mail, Psychology Today

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