Sports as a Means of Advancing Gender Equality
By admin March 24, 2016

SA_Soccer_Girls1Recent events in the world of sports have re-ignited the debate over the value of women in sports. While women in the Global North fight for equal pay, women in the Global South often fight just for the opportunity to play. While there may still be issues on the global scale with inequality in men’s and women’s sports, exemplified by recent discussion over the prize money given to men and women in tennis and the controversy over the conditions of the turfs between Women’s and Men’s World Cup, studies suggest that sports objectively advance the cause of women’s equality in a variety of dimensions.

A recent policy report issued by the Peterson Institute for International Economics entitled, “Women, Sports, and Development: Does It Pay to Let Girls Play?” enumerated many of the benefits of investing in women’s sports. Sports give young girls and women the skills to succeed in education and in their professional careers. Minority groups are among the greatest benefactors. Additionally, societies benefit from investing in women’s sports by reaping the rewards of more educated and productive women and they break down more of the barriers that hinder women’s productive capabilities.

Despite the fact that women in the Global North participate in sports at higher rates, women in the Global South still face obstacles to their participation. Many cultures still view sports as a masculine pursuit and sports leagues offer fewer opportunities for women to play. Furthermore, sports are often a low priority in foreign aid donations, which tend to go to areas like humanitarian relief and education.

Increasingly, though, women’s sports are gaining traction in unlikely places.

In Africa, there are more opportunities for female participation, such as the Mathare Youth Sports Association in Kenya, Moving the Goalposts Kilifi in Kenya, Soccer without Border Uganda, Empowering 1000 Girls through Sport in Zambia, and the Go Sisters’ Program in Zambia.

Many of these agencies also include educational components for girls to learn about health issues, human rights, and economic empowerment. In South Asia, India delivers programs such as ASOP India , which integrates girl-child education through sports.

In Latin America, there are similar initiatives, including: the Guerreiras Project and the Vencedoras program in Brazil, the Asociacion Bogota Colombia and Football for Peace in Colombia, Futbol Sin Fronteras in Nicaragua, and El Encuentro Juvenil in El Salvador. Even sports like women’s “cholitas” wrestling in Bolivia are starting to gain popularity and acceptance. Even in the Middle East and North Africa, where there still is a lack options for females to participate in sport related activities, those options are nevertheless growing, as seen by sports associations such as Courir pour le plaisir in Morocco, Ishraq in Egypt, and the Afghan Women’s Network in Afghanistan.

There may still be many obstacles for women to gain equality in sports, but as countries invest in the potential of their young women, women can also play a bigger role in those societies.


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Thanks for sharing !

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