Women still face gender-bias in sport

Why do female athletes have to work so hard just to make it in the industry of sport? This is a question some female athletes at Stellenbosch University keep asking themselves.

Jocelyn Solomons, a student in BSc honours performance sport at Stellenbosch University, has been part of various sporting codes, including cheerleading, ballroom and Latin dancing, hockey and netball.

“I am very proud of my achievements in sports. Some of the sports I do are not recognised enough to get good media coverage. We get less coverage than men playing soccer, rugby or basketball, to name a few”.

Megan Odendaal, an LLB law student at Stellenbosch University who does athletics and cross country, said female athletes have to work twice as hard as men just to be in the same league as them.

Solomons said men become more marketable in sport because sport is generally seen as a male field. Women are sometimes used in an objective way, for example being asked to pose half naked for a sports magazine while men are mostly fully clothed.

South Africa’s well known sports star and gold medallist Caster Semenya has fought an uphill battle to become accepted in sport due to her intersex condition. She has more testosterone, which makes her appear more muscular. Eventually she was recognised as female and can now compete on an international level.

The media technology platform for entrepreneurs, Your Story said that although women are now demanding their social rights, even to this day women do not receive as much respect or recognition on the professional front as their male counterparts. – Marsha Leitch