From England’s win at the Women’s Euros to the first ever female offshoot of the Tour de France, 2022 has without a doubt been a monumental year for women’s sport.
But a new study claims that the scheduling of many of these events is sexist.
Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, say that women’s finals are treated like ‘warm-up events’ to the men’s.
This, they claim, sends the message that women are second-class athletes.
‘It is time to challenge the gender hierarchy in sport, and to explicitly and proudly demonstrate that the achievements of female athletes are as valued as those of male athletes,’ the team said.
Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, say that women’s finals are treated like ‘warm-up events’ to the men’s. Pictured: Elena Rybakina celebrates her win at Wimbledon
Masculine titles are SEXIST and undermine women’s roles as leaders at work, study claims
From chairman to salesman, many job titles typically feature the word ‘man.’
Now, a study claims that these typically masculine titles are sexist and undermine women’s roles as leaders at work.
Researchers from the University of Houston found that the title of Chairman increases assumptions that a leader is a man, more than the title of Chair.
Allison M.N. Archer, who led the study, said: ‘While some dismiss gender-neutral titles as “political correctness”, this research suggests that implicitly sexist language in masculine titles reinforces stereotypes that tie masculinity to leadership and consequently, weaken the connection between women and leadership.’
Substantial progress has been made in many women’s sports in recent years, according to the researchers.
For example, sports that were traditionally thought to be ‘men only’, such as football and pole vault, now have women participating, while all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments now offer the same prize money to male and female players.
However, female athletes are still fighting for equality in other aspects of sports, they say.
‘Structural barriers are ubiquitous, such as sexist uniform mandates, rules that force women to choose between breast feeding and competing, sexual harassment and impropriety against female athletes, and lower representation of women in sports governance, coaching, and journalism,’ they wrote in their study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Another key obstacle facing many female athletes is the scheduling of their events, according to the team.
They cite the Olympic Games before Tokyo 2020, where the women’s finals were always held before the men’s.
‘Prior to Tokyo 2020, this scheduling bias was substantial at the Olympic Games,’ they wrote.
‘For example, in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, 25 hours of competition were scheduled for men’s events on the last Sunday (prime broadcasting time), but only 2 hours for women’s events.
‘In most previous Olympic Games, and nearly all other sporting events where men and women compete together, such as tennis, table tennis and beach volleyball, the last two events are the women’s and the men’s final – in that order.
In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, 25 hours of competition were scheduled for men’s events on the last Sunday (prime broadcasting time), but only 2 hours for women’s events. Team GB runner Mo Farah pictured after completing the ‘double double’ at Rio 2016
Women are just as competitive as men, study finds
Women are just as competitive as men, according to a study that found they enter competitions at the same rate as men, but are more likely to share their winnings.
Putting volunteers in groups and asking them to complete a series of maths problems in return for a reward helped researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson to study gender differences in relation to competition.
The 238 participants were evenly split between men and women, and had the option of choosing a guaranteed prize for a correct result, a larger prize if they were a top performer, or a larger prize with the option to share the winnings with the losers.
If given the chance to share their winnings, 60 per cent of women opted for competition, whereas only 35 per cent decided to compete if they won the lot.
In contrast, 51 per cent of men opted for the winner-take-all option, compared to 52.5 per cent of men going for gold if they got to share their reward with the losers.
Researchers say that female participants may be more interested in controlling the way the winnings are dived up among the other participants than the men.
‘This perpetuates a gender hierarchy in which the women’s final is considered the ‘warm-up’ towards the supposed climax of the competition, the men’s final.’
The researchers believe that this scheduling bias may have a domino effect for girls and women around the world.
‘These obstacles not only hold female athletes back from achieving their full potential and being celebrated as the pinnacle of their sports, but they might also hold back girls and women around the world from embracing sport and reaping the full benefits of an active lifestyle,’ they added.
Women are less physically active than men globally, with surveys showing that in the UK, only 12 per cent of girls aged 14 meet the official guidelines for physical activity.
Based on the findings, the researchers are calling for ‘one small, yet potentially impactful change.’
‘We call on the International Olympic Committee and all major sports federations around the world who run events in which both men and women compete, such as tennis, to alternate the order of the men’s and women’s finals between tournaments,’ they suggest.
‘Broadcasting rights are a main source of income of major sports events and, as previously mentioned, women’s sports usually receive far less media coverage than men’s sports.
‘We contend that our proposed change is unlikely to affect total viewership.
‘Taking Grand Slam tennis tournaments as an example, broadcasters usually show both the women’s and the men’s final live at the same time of day on consecutive days (usually both weekend days).
‘Our proposal does not involve adding, dropping or replacing coverage, but only to alternate the order of these finals between tournaments which may have minimal impact on viewers.’
While it remains unclear whether these changes would be considered, the researchers say that ‘any progress’ is significant.
‘Any progress is significant if it leads to more girls and women around the world engaging in physical activity and sport to cultivate their full potential on and off the sports field,’ they concluded.