Female athletes all over the world are facing the same problem.
The roles in which most people want to see women, are very less and very specific, and since being a professional athlete is not one of those roles, people react to it in a different and mostly unfair manner.
Here are 6 instances proving the same.
1. Footballer Ada Hegerberg, the first woman to win Ballon d’Or, was asked if she knows how to twerk when she went to receive the award.
Because that’s how you treat women who create history, right? You ask them if they can twerk.
FYI, she is 23 and has 107 goals to her name in 2 years. And is a serial winner.
🇳🇴 @AdaStolsmo’s Career:🏟 215 Games⚽️ 219 Goals🏆🏆🏆 Women’s Champions League🏆🏆🏆 Division 1 Feminine🏆🏆🏆 Coupe de France🥇 Women’s Ballon d’Or🥇 BBC Women’s Player of the Year🥇 Norwegian Sports Person of Year😳 She’s still only 23-years old. pic.twitter.com/iugm49qh7Q— SPORF (@Sporf) December 3, 2018
Did we mention she’s just 23 years old?
2. There was not even a single female athlete in Forbes’ list of top 100 highest earning athletes in 2018.
Let that sink in. There’s not even ONE female athlete from all over the WORLD in this list.
While calculating the earnings, Forbes takes into account the prize money and endorsement deals, so here is a fact that will put things into perspective.
In 2014, the prize money for the men’s football World Cup was $35 million.
A year later, women played the same competition and the winning team got $2 million as cash prize.
Authorities blame viewers, viewers blame media and media blames authorities, and while women win many a games on field, this blame-game is the one where they lose without even participating.
3. The Indian women’s cricket team, combined, is earning less than a SINGLE A-lister male cricketer.
#BCCI new contract system (Women) 🇮🇳🏏A (50 lakhs): M Raj, J Goswami, H Kaur, S Mandhana.B (30 lakhs): P Yadav, V Krishnamurthy, R Gayakwad, E Bisht, S Pandey, D Sharma.C (10 lakhs): M Joshi, A Patil, M Meshram, N Parveen, S Verma, P Raut, J Rodrigues, P Vastrakar, T Bhatia.— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) March 7, 2018
#BCCI new contract system 🇮🇳🏏A+ (7 Cr.) – Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, Bhuvi, BumrahA (5 Cr.) – Ashwin, Jadeja, Vijay, Pujara, Rahane, Dhoni, SahaB (3 Cr.) – Rahul, Umesh, Kuldeep, Chahal, Pandya, Ishant, DKC (1 Cr.) – K Jadhav, M Pandey, Axar, K Nair, Raina, Parthiv, J Yadav— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) March 7, 2018
I don’t need to say anything further. Simple addition and multiplication will help you draw a contrast, so go ahead.
And for those who say this is because women don’t play as good as men, Mithali Raj has led the country to three World Cup finals.
4. The coverage of women’s sports events in the US in 2015 was less than it was in 1989.
A research by scholars of Purdue University and USC suggests that women athletes are actually covered less in media now than they were in 1989.
The reason? They now have the facility to run a ‘ticker’ which allows them to focus on male sports events while conveniently running the scores from women’s events below (Talk about being marginalized!).
In a different study, it was found out that 65% of girls under 21 years of age say that they want to see more women’s sports on TV. But there is nothing to see, because they are not considered to be important enough.
5. People shame women athletes for basically everything they do on and off the court.
Let’s take the example of Sania Mirza. She is one the best tennis players India has ever produced and was ranked number one doubles player by ATP for more than 80 weeks.
But guess what YouTube users want to know about Sania.
Fuck her achievements, how dare she wear a short skirt being a Muslim?
And marrying a Pakistani? Medals she earned for the country are useless, she’s a traitor.
And this is not limited to Sania, athletes like Serena Williams or someone closer home, Jwala Gutta face the shaming on an everyday basis.
6. When they are recognized for their achievements, it’s always under the shadows of their male counterparts.
Imagine being one of the best ODI players in the world, leading the team by example and still be playing amazing cricket at 36 (Yeah, I am talking about Mithali Raj).
Now, imagine being asked ‘who is your favourite male cricketer?’
Doesn’t add up, right? Press can’t get over its obsession with male cricketers because any headline without the name of Dhoni or Kohli wouldn’t be ‘appealing enough’.