Sport is the mirror of society and phenomena that we see in society and also find in sport and vice versa, SFI Director of Sport Petra Steinmann wrote in the Federal Pen this week.
When the modern Olympics began in 1896, women were not welcome to participate. According to the founder of the Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, a woman’s body was not created to withstand the harsh Olympic dust. But already at the next Olympics, women took part in both tennis and golf.
After that, things started happening. With women gaining the right to vote in many countries, the struggle for gender equality in sport has increased. In the 1920s, women began playing soccer in Britain and as a protest against being allowed to compete in athletics at the Olympics, the Women’s Olympic Games were held in Paris in 1922.
Since then, the women’s Olympic majors have increased every year. Good examples include wrestling in 2004, boxing in 2012 and ski jumping late in 2014.
But everything did not go as planned. In 1928, it almost became a scandal when people were terrified of how women could reach longer distances in athletics. Medical experts have commented on how women are risking their fertility and premature aging by exposing themselves to such extreme stress. This is in addition to the social climate becoming more bleak both economically and politically, so the successes of the early 20th century are largely over, says Helena Tolvid, a historian at Stockholm University who researches the history of women in sport.
In the article “Women’s Path to the Olympics” we can read about how all this led to women’s participation, for example. Athletics, but do not run more than 200 meters. This void continued until the 1970s. Next came the “second wave” as Helena Tolved describes the stage, when the most masculine coded sports in the Olympics for example wrestling and boxing opened to women.
Throughout the century women have sought male-dominated sports, but the flow in the other direction has not been this great. It is unusual for men to progress to female-dominated sports more than the other way around. History also leaves its mark, male and female athletes still have different conditions to be able to support themselves in their sports in many sports.
When it comes to athletic leaders, the balance between men and women is still in favor of men in many of the sub-associations. As a sports leader, I can recognize the problems of combining top sports or time-consuming driving while managing the family’s daily life at the same time. You are simply too far from home and there must be a special inner drive and drive if you want to combine sports and family life as a woman.
The same goes for training, which also takes up some of the family’s free time. Above all, within the family it is required that each one bear all that is required to organize daily life, so that it flows between the journeys of competition and training. The traditional gender roles of men and women can be cause for revision in the home environment.
Speaking of traditional gender roles, society is slowly but surely moving towards respecting the fact that our biological division into genders is no longer inclusive. This will place huge demands on competitive sports and their traditional division into two groups.
There are still many question marks when looking at equality in sport. As sport reflects society, new phenomena will certainly appear, the signs of which we can already see. Within scholastic values, it was noted that it was boys who started to perform worse and less motivated than girls. As a result, they are more likely to have a knockout later in life. It is definitely time to establish boys projects along with all girls projects and also shift focus towards boys development.
Equality which means that everyone should have the same opportunities for sports regardless of, eg. Gender, occupational disparity, where you were born, sexual activity, religion, etc. I will write more about it in the next Federal Pen.
Swedish-Finnish Athletic Federation
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