Women have long been suppressed in sports, jobs, and education due to anti-feminist ideologies. However, significant progress has been made in the 20th and 21st centuries to bridge the gender gap and promote gender equality in these areas. This paper will discuss gender equality in sports, jobs, and education.
In the 19th century, the understanding of medicine was limited which led people to believe that humans had a finite level of energy (Weng). As such, the ability of women to take part in sports was questioned, with some people citing safety as a reason to limit their participation. Moreover, it was believed that menstruation caused women to go through a weakened state which hampered their efforts to participate in sports. These flawed beliefs led to the suppression of women in sports for many years despite evidence showing that women could perform at a high level as men (Weng).
The 20th century saw the increase in participation of women in sports thanks in part to their hard work. For instance, Billie Jean King emerged to take tennis by storm in the 1950s and 1960s (Weng). She is remembered as one of the greatest tennis players in history and an ambassador of the sport. She is renowned for the “Battle of the Sexes” match of 1973 that saw her beat Bobby Riggs, the former men’s champion (Weng). Title IX was enacted in 1972 which forbade gender discrimination when it came to participation in activities that received federal assistance such as sports (Weng).
In spite of the progress that has been made to curb gender inequality in sports, certain gaps still remain. For instance, women still do not receive equal opportunities or coverage as men when it comes to athletic opportunities. This is especially true in sports such as racing, football, and basketball (Weng). At the professional level, female sports tend to receive less funding and the athletes earn less compared to their male counterparts. As such, there is a need to empower both sexes when it comes to sports to ensure that no one is left out.
Before the 20th century, traditional gender roles were the norm with men going out to work while women stayed at home to be homemakers. The 20th century heralded the struggle of women to participate in professional activities like men (Conaghan 110). During both World Wars, women took up most of the jobs that were previously done by men as the latter went off to war, giving them a sense of liberation. The cultural revolution of the 1950s and 1960s saw women take up jobs in film and modeling, personified by the rise of Marilyn Monroe (Conaghan 115). They began excelling in other fields as well such as politics and science. For example, Valentina Tereshkova became the first women to fly into space in 1963 while Margeret Thatcher became the first female British Prime Minister in 1979 (Conaghan 115).
In spite of the remarkable progress that women have made in the employment sector, there is still a dearth of women in top managerial positions. Instead, they are overrepresented in the lower tier of employment. When it comes to business, women are mostly involved in sectors such as beauty, childcare, and fashion (Hijleh). Their male counterparts still dominate fields such as finance and real estate. In a developed country like the U.S., women earn approximately 80% of what their male counterparts make in the same job position on average (Hijleh). The gap is wider in developing countries. These disparities in employment have led to the concentration of wealth among men.
The enrolment of women in school has accelerated in recent years with the number of women in schools across America surpassing that of men. Gender empowerment in education has also resulted in more women graduating from college compared to their male counterparts in many countries around the globe (Conaghan 121). Previously, boys were thought to do better than girls in subjects such as math and sciences. On the other hand, girls were presumed to excel in languages and social sciences. However, these differences have disappeared in recent years with girls doing better in arithmetic.
Before the enactment of Title IX in 1972, it was very rare for girls to take part in collegiate extracurricular activities (Weng). Currently, girls make up approximately 50% of all collegiate athletes, an impressive figure. Also, women are beginning to make their mark in sciences which has seen the number of female Nobel laureates in the fields of science increase in recent years. Donna Strickland, for instance, was presented with the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, making her the third woman to achieve this feat (Weng). It is safe to say that women have come farthest in education compared to other fields such as sports and employment.
Women have definitely come a long way since the 19th century when gender inequality was at its highest. The gaps in gender representation in sports, jobs, and education have narrowed in recent years. women now have the chance to take part in sports, work in certain job positions, and graduate en masse from college. In spite of the strides that have been made to promote gender equality in these sectors, numerous gaps still exist. As such, more efforts are needed across the gender divide to promote equality.
Conaghan, Joanne. "Transmissions Through Time: Gender, Law, and History." Law and Gender, 2013, pp. 109-154.
Hijleh, Aidan. "Women Vs Men In The Business World: Are They Really Different?" Online Income Teacher, 28 Jan. 2014, onlineincometeacher.com/business-tips/women-vs-men-in-business/.
Weng, Garret. "The Fight for Gender Equality in Sports." SISU Blog - Sports Safety Tips, Equipment & More, blog.sisuguard.com/female-fight-for-equality-in-sports.