Emma Raducanu- The Reality of Women in Sport by Sofia Wilson, Farringtons School
Emma Raducanu’s extraordinary success and support at Wimbledon and the US Open this year has been somewhat promising for the future of women in sport and something that should be celebrated as a step in the right direction for the gender equality. However, with these successes, we become blind to the inequalities that women still face on a daily basis in this male dominated industry.
It wasn’t until 2007 that Wimbledon agreed to make the prize money equal for men and women, and 17% of sports still discriminate against women when it comes to paying wages. equivalents and win the same awards in 2021. Fortunately for Raducanu, tennis has always been one of the most advanced sports for gender equality, with Billie Jean King leading the equal pay movement in 1973, making the US Open the first Grand Slam to pay men and women equally.
However, women should always play only 3 sets in a tennis match compared to men who play 5 sets. Although the two are paid equally, sport expects far less from women than from men, and it shows how stuck we are still in the traditions of a patriarchal society.
One of the most discriminating sports is basketball. In WNBA, female athletes earn about 1.5% of the salary of their male NBA counterparts. This shows the difference in treatment between the sexes. Unfortunately, in this sexist environment, it will be a constant challenge to achieve the fundamental right to equal pay anytime soon due to the significantly higher demand to watch men’s sport. Women’s sport is not taken as seriously or enjoyed as much as men’s sport in many cases, such as basketball and football, where the ratings are considerably higher on a men’s TV match than a women’s match. The public mindset fuels inequalities, resulting in a lack of investment and sponsorship.
In Victorian times, sport was a male-only activity in society and this is one of the reasons why sport is a male-dominated industry. And while the success of women is increasingly recognized, inequalities within the industry have not gone away. This is an issue we still have to fight for because equality is a fundamental human right. It is also important to recognize that sport is just one of the many industries that discriminate against women, due to the legacy of male domination.