Women p.80). However, it is important to illustrate

Women in sport have always
been a questioned amongst society, as historically women and girls were repeatedly
unencouraged to participate in sport as there were several concerns about the
appropriateness of gendered bodies and what their bodies should be used
for.  This ideology was observed in Iris
Young (1980), writings throwing like a girl as the following quotes states that
“for most part, girls and women are not given the opportunity to use their full
bodily capacities in free open engagements with the world, nor are they
encouraged as much as boys to develop specific bodily skills” (Young,1980,
p.152). Although this article is outdated it demonstrates that women’s participation
in sport was deemed as wrong to the roles of females in culture. Furthermore,
it was evidently clear that in the nineteenth and twentieth century that women
in sport were not seen as the ‘norm’ in society, as pro feminist analyses of
sport suggested that “the female in sport is considered a woman in a man’s territory”
(Boutilier and San Giovanni,1983, p.80). However, it is important to illustrate
the historical period of women’s participation to evaluate whether there has
been an increase in the equality between both genders.

 

As a result, in comparison
to previous times, women involvement in sport has undoubtedly increased. This
increase could be argued through the influence of second wave feminism who
challenged gender inequalities by advancing women rights and equity as this was
reflected through the gradual growth of woman’s participation in the Olympics.

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Statistical evidence established in Giulianotti, (2015) publication supports
this thesis as in 1992 Olympics women’s participation stood at 19 per cent, 38
per cent in 2000 ,42 per cent in 2008 and almost 45 per cent in the London
Olympics in 2012. Implying that woman are becoming more valued as athletes, in
what is recognised a patriarchal society. As Woodward (2012), stated that the
2012 London Olympics was described as ‘women time’. As it was reported that in
the London Olympics the United States women team represented the “… majority of
the US team for the first time and taking home most of the countries medals” (Pope,
2017, p.30), which Highlights the improvement in woman’s participation and the successfulness
of woman athletes. Moreover, Cathy Devine, (2017) further illustrated that
there was a wider increase in the media coverage of elite women’s sport, particularly
during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Devine, (2017) also appointed that there was
an increase in the professionalisation of elite women’s sports such as rugby,
football demonstrating that there is an overall growth in women’s participation
in sport in traditionally male dominated sports. It might be concluded from these
observations that gender equality in sport is well on the way to being achieved.

 

However, although there have
been improvements in woman’s participation in sport, it cannot go unnoticed that
their participation has often been the subject of question in sport. For instance,
the “Women’s Sports Foundation received more than 500 calls each week questioning
the importance of appropriateness of sports in girls’ lives” (Lucas, 2000,
p.149). As a result, several campaigns have emerged such as ‘This Girl Can’ and
‘Woman in sport’ to tackle issues of equity in women’s participation. The woman
in sport (2017), campaign in visions to create society where gender equality
exists in every sphere, by empowering women and girls through the sport sector.

Which correlates with the national lottery funded ‘This Girl Can’ campaign motives.

As they also aim to inspire and to empower woman to participate in sport. Sport
England, (2017) reported that the Campaign featured women who ‘sweat’ and ‘jiggle’
as they exercise as they seek to represent woman athletes in their real
limelight in comparison to the idealised image in which the media portrays
them. This correlates with the previous section of sexulaisation as the ‘This
Girl Can’ campaigned aimed to overcome the usual glamorisation which the media
usual portrays woman athletes in contrast to how male athletes presented.

 

In addition, Higgs, Weiller,
Martin (2003) suggested that sports media is one of the key influences in
sporting participation. Whilst women’s sporting events do receive media
coverage, it is not as substantial as the prime coverage, which men receive. Women’s
coverage tends to be unproportioned and different to the coverage which men receive,
as Bernstien (2002) highlighted that women’s coverage is frequently accompanied
by sexual imagery and the trivialization of athletic achievement. Conversely,
many would argue that this inequality is starting to change as Sky TV has a
specific channel on the coverage of woman’s sport. Moreover, the 2015 FA world
cup final “… for the first time in the competitions history was shown on the
BBC, having previously been covered by Sky” (Woodward,2017, p.695). This is
significant as it shows the beginning of mainstreaming women’s sport, creating
a sense of equality between both genders and part of a flow of changing times.

 

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