Why are women’s sports still ignored?

Rahul Venkat Roar Rookie

By Rahul Venkat, Rahul Venkat is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    When we talk about cricket, the name that immediately springs to mind is Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master, as he is affectionately known – well, the original one was Sunil Gavaskar, but we can work with it – is a household name in world cricket.

    He is the holder of many records, among them being the first male player to score a double hundred in ODIs, but here the emphasis is on a male player.

    Consider Belinda Clark, the Australian women’s captain who made 229 in a World Cup match in 1997, a whole 13 years before the revered ‘God of cricket’ did. No-one talks about Clark or her exploits with the bat. Even the most die-hard cricket fans are likely unaware of her feat until a few years ago when it was published in an article.

    Us Indians only knew last year’s women’s cricket World Cup was happening because India reached the final, but for the India vs Pakistan game in the men’s Champions Trophy – and the World Cup is bigger than the Champions Trophy – we had already made plans to sit around and watch it together with friends and family despite it not being a final or semi-final.

    Matildas Football 2017

    (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    Traditionally speaking, the men’s version of any game has been more talked about and more popular with the exception of tennis. Martina Navratilova is spoken of in the same vein as Rod Laver, and that is commendable considering that many other women’s sports are unheard of in many parts of the world.

    To give you perspective, the most popular female football player is American Alex Morgan, and if you google her, most articles will be about how ‘hot’ she is. Tracey Neville was a brilliant netball player, but she is more well-known for being Gary and Phil Neville’s sister.

    Why is it that women only garner attention when they are objectified or are related to a famous player? Do they not deserve fame or spotlight of their own? Are they not marketable enough? It is appalling to see how much women’s sports is marginalised in our highly patriarchal society.

    It may be true that sports started off with men playing them, but women jumped in pretty quickly too. Each sport has a women’s version of it, the only difference being the media coverage and the investment – or the lack of it.

    alyssa-healy-sydney-sixers-cricket-wbbl

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    A popular argument for the lack of viewership is that the women’s game is not as good as the men’s version or that the level of competition is not that high. That is like saying Roger Federer is not as good as Serena Williams because she has won more Grand Slams (23 compared to Federer’s 19). Is it even valid?

    Absolutely not. They are both legends in their own right. Such a comparison is unwarranted and devoid of reason as parallels cannot be drawn between the two. They are playing two completely different games despite the form being common.

    It is 2018 and it is high time we realise that women should be judged on the basis of their performance in the same game. The media and all other sport production and broadcasting houses should learn from tennis how to market and popularise women’s versions of various sports.

    The women’s BBL is a step in the right direction, but let us not stop at that. Let us strive to make names like Charlotte Edwards and Harmanpreet Kaur as commonplace as Sachin Tendulkar.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • April 21st 2018 @ 7:55am
      Bob said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      The womens bbl is no where near as exciting as the men’s due to slower bowling and smaller hitting. Women’s afl is boring cause they never kick goals and are not as strong, fast or skilled as the men.

      I’m all for making the top leagues of every sport open to all genders as we want to see the best of the best but as long as sports are built on skills, which men have a clear advantage (running, strength, hand eye co-ordination) then the women’s leagues will always be inferior

      • April 21st 2018 @ 9:47am
        BrainsTrust said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        How is running and strength a skill ,horses are much stronger and faster then human men, bigger gap than men have over women.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 1:37pm
          Bob said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          Yeah but can a horse kick a ball through a set of sticks, or throw a ball to another horse, or hit the ball with a bat? If so sign that horse up and get it in the game on a top contract with a sponsorship for a sports drink

    • April 21st 2018 @ 8:27am
      Donx jones said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Gosh havent you people learnt anything.
      Women sports is like watching lower grade men sports.
      Slower, less skill, less women playing so easier for aussies to win. Way to much kudos for this rubbish

    • April 21st 2018 @ 8:31am
      Onside said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      ‘women should be judged on the basis of their performance in the same game’.

      They are, which is why so few people watch it.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 1:11pm
      i miss the force said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      i prefer to watch mens sport

    • April 22nd 2018 @ 9:42pm
      Phelpsy said | April 22nd 2018 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

      would Belinda Clarke’s recordbe as good if she competed against the same people tanduka did? Tanduka did it at the highest level regardless of gender, race and age.

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