What would you prefer to watch? The All Blacks or the Black Ferns?
Both teams play rugby, both teams are New Zealand teams. The only difference is that they are different genders. Yet one team gets much more coverage and fame in the media.
Gender discrimination happens in almost every sport. Sometimes it is obvious: when men are turned down to play netball competitively, or when women get less coverage and fame than men do in sports like rugby or football. Sometimes we don’t even realise that it is happening.
In fact, the media is to blame for the majority of sexism in sport. Look at someone like Elena Delle Donne: she is one of the world’s best basketball players and has one of the highest free throw records (scoring outside the three-point line) in all basketball. You might not even have heard of her. Yet if you were to search her scoring record online, it says otherwise.
The Black Ferns have been gender discriminated. Yes, the team went to the Olympics this year. Yes, they got tons of coverage. And, yes, the entire country was behind them throughout their tournament. However, outside the Olympics it’s a different story. Their games are barely on TV and you never know when they’re playing. Unlike, of course, the All Blacks. When the All Blacks are playing, the media is in a frenzy in the lead-up: telling us all about the injuries, new players and plenty of other gossip.
Sport is a giant part of society. But when people are discriminated by their gender it makes watching and playing sport unfair.
It’s never the athlete’s fault, because he or she can’t control what gets put onto social media or other media. It’s all to do with the popularity of the sport and the team because if there is a sport that isn’t popular they aren’t going to air it on television. For example: archery it is a cool sport to watch. However, it is barely ever on television because no one ever watches it. The reason why they do this is because of money and advertising.
Another problem is when male athletes say silly things about female athletes. Novak Doković said that male tennis players should be payed more than female tennis players because he thinks that they are better players. He said this at press conference so it was shared around the world. That information and drama is what the press looks for when they are interviewing people.
So, what can you do to help promote gender equality? Help female sports teams in New Zealand by showing interest in their teams. You don’t have to like the sport or team but showing some kind of interest or support helps them become more popular and gain the team more coverage in the media.
This will help women be respected for their sporting achievements, rather than their image or personal lives.
By Ruby Eales.
This is an opinion article, designed to promote critical discussion amongst your students:
Critical Thinking Challenges:
- Can you name the captain of the All Blacks?
- How about the captain of the Black Ferns?
- What is the most popular sport in your family? Do you watch the team play online or on your television?
- What does sexism mean?
- Are you aware of sexism in sport? If so describe an example?
- People say that you should always support your country yet there’s barely any support for New Zealand female teams over social media and the TV. Why do you think that is?
- Are there sports that are sexist towards males?
- Make a list of sports that are sexist towards females and then a list of sports that are sexist towards males.
- Make a poster that promotes gender equality.
- Research your favourite sport and find out if there is sexism against males or sexism against females.
- Have you ever experienced an athlete being sexist or saying something sexist in a press conference? If so, what did they say? If not, find out an athlete that has been sexist.