Friday, 7 March 2014

International Women’s Day


Today is International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on the 8th of March and in the sporting world equality has been no less a topic of conversation than anywhere else.

From the prize money at Wimbledon to the inclusion of women in all teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games the topic of equality in sport has been consistently on the agenda.

However, in areas such as participation, authority, reward and recognition the fight goes on to continue to level the playing field and there is still some way to go.

In participation more still needs to be done in countries where women’s lack of rights go way beyond being able to play sport, having a token athlete at the Olympics is just a tiny step but sport can be the catalyst for change.

In authority until 1981 the IOC was exclusively a men’s club and even today only 20 of the 112 IOC members are women. It is not for lack of role models, organisational skills or candidates that these numbers are so low, sporting bodies need to push for a greater balance in the IOC.


BBC

No one would be so naïve as to suggest that sex has not been used to sell women’s sport and the riches achieved through product endorsement have disguised the fact that the rewards for female sports stars do not match those of their male counterparts. However, bums on seats is what attracts revenue either at the events themselves or watching on TV, a greater exposure to women’s sport on TV would help a great deal to change this. We can only hope that in time the achievements by female stars are not compared to their stronger male counterparts, accept it for what it is. In some sports there is less comparison, no-one compares Laura Trott’s times with the male cyclists, she won gold and that was all that counted.

Success needs to be recognised and only last month the ECB announced that the women’s England Cricket team would go full time. This has to have been as a result of a consistently brilliant performance by the team both on and off the field of play, no dressing rooms bust ups, no errant tweets and from what I can see no ego’s getting in the way of the team ethos. Our women’s cricketers thoroughly deserve this recognition, now we just need the fans to pack Lords to the rafters for their next home match.

Progress has been made in sport and sport can continue to lead the way for the rest of society.

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