Women have come a long way in the sporting arena from the time of the first modern Olympics when they weren’t even permitted to sit as viewers to being flagbearers of their country. Today Serena Williams, Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, and Mary Kom are household names. Women have established time and again that they are not the feebler branch of society and they too can put up with the biological stress of competitive sports.
But still, women’s participation in sports is poor. There are several reasons for which not many women opt for sports as their career. In India a nation where there is a widespread passive mindset towards sports, dearth of motivation towards sports-oriented mindset up from family because of the conventional way of living and despite the restricted aid from the government both in infrastructure and confidence boost up, we observe the position of women in sports has been fairly noticeable and we celebrate it as well. In India, the bulk of experienced athletes’ journey is privately sponsored affair, with no designated route in place. How many of the rural population of women in India can afford private funds for their sports careers? Also, in India, most of the low-income classes of women are not permitted to play not just because of the anxiety of change in appearance but also because of the patriarchal character of our culture, the idea of sports being a male profession, biological myths like sports impacting child-birth and other stringent social norms. Every woman athlete has to face all of these issues growing up. Women, who wish to choose sports as their career often face taunts from society like, “Who will marry you?”, “You will be running on the fields wearing shorts and disgrace to the family?”, “Choose something else that will give you more financial security”, “Oh! She has muscles like a man, she doesn’t look like a girl!”, “How can you let your daughter roam alone around the world?” and the list is endless. Wall Street Journal states “from 2016 to 2018, earnings assembled from women’s games was $50.8 million as compared to $49.9 million for men surprisingly only 5% of sports segments belong to women while 92% to men and 3% combined. But alas! Still, women face gender parity, more occasional media coverage, and lower pay which is dominant globally. Even social media drives and nationwide lawsuits have been unable to manage these imbalances.
The Khelo India program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports aims to manage the issue of scarcity of participation of women by running a nationwide sports contest solely for women. The program will spend 10 crores on this proposal. But it’s still a matter of concern whether the program will be precisely implemented or not. The government has tried to do identical programs in the past and has failed.
If you love sports, then taking a degree or any certificate related to the sports field is also a good idea for your profession. As every cloud has a silver lining, India has around 112 colleges that offer degrees or certificates in sports management or any related field. College of Physical Education Pune, Lakshmibai National College of Physical EducationThiruvananthapuram, Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education Gwalior, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, New Delhi are some of the very prestigious colleges that offer various courses related to sports or sports management. Even colleges like IIM Rohtak, Jamia Milia Islamia have sports-related courses.
At the end of the day, we see that despite all sorts of difficulties, women sports persons are smashing all stereotypes doing directional work on high accomplishment ambitions. The result can very well be seen from the success in the recent 2020 Olympics. India has a long way to go to elevate women’s sport and ought to be more optimistic in the duration of funding and social obstacles overall. So if you think sports is your thing, just go for it!