- Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 22:23
- Written by Martha Moitsheki
Champions or not, our sporting women remain in the shadows.
When the headlines announce a male sporting event, the country goes gaga – let us paint our faces, play the deafening bee-buzzing vuvuzela’s and if they don’t do well we lose our minds and burn our stadiums.
Female sporting events do not even make it on the headlines so I won’t even bother. Barring other gender-related issues, South African women in sport do not get the recognition and respect that they deserve. Most of the female sport teams are not even known around the country, even after this year's Olympic Games in London.
The South African women’s hockey team qualified for the 2012 Olympics, with a butt-kicking 3-1 victory over India, and all they got was a good-girl-pat-on-the-head. This appalling response is brutal evidence of the stigma that still reeks in our country’s sporting spectrum. We still live in the dark ages where things like sports are still male dominated.
The issue of gender inequality still drags along behind us and we still live in a chauvinistic era where women belong in the kitchen with flour-puffed faces and gravy-stained frocks with a feather duster in hand.
We do not give our ladies the attention, credit and support they sweat for. Women are still dissociated with anything that requires strenuous physical activity except for child birth. Sport is still considered a way to have fun for women; more like a tea party.
That’s not the case; women are not just stiletto-clicking, hip-swaying, and lipstick-smearing species. There are so many women who can even play better than their male counterparts, but not many would know because they are not given the chance to fully show it.
The blame does not entirely rest on us the spectators’ shoulders though; the media does not do much. Newspapers, television, magazines, radio and the internet cover mostly men in sports; women just get a little piece at the bottom where not many people will bother to even look. They probably assume it’s one of those silly pop-up ads.
When you Google "sport"; you get news, pictures and all coverage that concern men’s teams and events. If you’re searching for women in sports, I wish you all the luck in finding anything through the labyrinth of information that it offers you. I bet if you search for "Caster Semenya" you’ll get the whole sex shebang before you get the relevant career details.
Not only do women face a lack of recognition, but they also face dire financial difficulties. Where are all the big-pocketed companies that sponsor the country’s male champions? Why are they leaving women in the dark? Would it hurt to get the same sponsorship for women as the men get? It wouldn’t hurt and it should not even be a challenge. What are the South African sports associations doing about this?
Perhaps it’s a work-in-progress issue, just like all problems that we have thrown into the "transformation" bucket, like racial issues and other gender-related matters. It doesn’t mean we should sit on our behinds and let time fix the problem; women need to support each other, after all, it starts with us.
The men may already be ahead in the race, but we are trading in our stilettos for running shoes, our aprons for tights and our pom-poms for gloves – we are right on your tail.