Let’s get to know the background…

For years now, sociologists and psychologists have teamed up to delve deeper into the different aspects that surround the participation of women in sports. Be it just showing up for a selection event or making it to front cover sports apparel endorsements, sportswomen are constantly on a search for equality. Going back to the Olympics in 1900, when women were allowed to make their sporting debuts, the games received a fair share of criticism in this regard. Today, the global social fabric has gone a long way in ensuring that females are an integral part of every athletic troupe, be it weight lifting, swimming or gymnastics. But what does this mean to us?

Our female athletes are no less…

Not surprisingly, the UAE boasts participation of Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed Al Maktoum and Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed Al Maktoum as the brand ambassadors of Emirati women at the games, competing in impacted sports like taekwondo and showjumping at Beijing! Women in the UAE have traditionally been involved in individualistic sports like shooting and equestrian, be it at the Olympics or the World’s most expensive race at Meydan Racecourse.

The YOUTH situation…




Academic institutions in the UAE mirror the global scenario – female athletes striving hard to make a name for themselves and male athletes grabbing the attention. Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, remarks that there exists a connection between sports and the idea of masculinity that needs to be broken. In contrast to this, many youngsters would argue that performance does not solely depend on the number of hours put into practice but also the overall idea of “male physiology”- one that holds a scientific basis. It’s not that men are stronger, they just have a higher concentration of testosterone in their bloodstream.

Age-old stereotypes…

Women who work out quite often are associated with size zero and dieting regimes. Activities like aerobics and yoga that go off as an entire hour of gym time are ridiculed as “exercises for the weaker lot”.  “She’s doing it to look prettier” or “to increase the number of likes on her next Facebook post” are some of the least derogatory comments I’ve come across. All of these comments have stressed our female sports ideals to tell their stories and reach out to other girls across the world who are frowned upon when they express interest in some sport. After all, the football match is for the men and the cookery show for the women!


Food for thought until next time…

As I ponder over the above facets of the problem at hand, I’m forced to come up with a counter argument. Why are we striving for equality? Why can’t men and women occupy their own niche in the field of sports as they continually have in stable societies? Isn’t it wise for female athletes to use all their strengths to their benefit – graceful yet supple and sharp movements to awe the audience and create world records in physical activities ranging from pole vault to swimming?

Fortunately, a large population of women athletes has woken up to realize the same. “Why be equal to men, when you can be better?” they say. This shift in ideologies has again woken us up to the support we need to provide our sports enthusiasts with. Don’t act too surprised next time you hear your friend trying out a Zumba class to combine fitness with her dance regime!

Written By: Radhika Marwaha, TYV Ambassador from University of California, Davis pursuing Biomedical Engineering.

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