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Sportswomen Need Representation

We all saw the recent Nike Campaign which had ace tennis legend Serena Williams talk about the feeling of being a woman athlete in the world of sports. This came in close to events that happened on 2nd March 2019.

Cyclist Nicole Hanselmann was forced to give up her lead in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium, because she had caught up with the male race that was taking place on the same route. A forced ten-minute break resulted in her finishing the race at the 74th place. This is similar to what happened with Kathrine Switzer, a woman who was attacked during the Boston Marathon of 1967 because women weren’t allowed to compete in it at that time. While things are not nearly as bad nowadays, the systematic barriers that sportswomen face in their vocation remain.

  • India’s Bronze-winning Olympian, Sita Sadhu, sells golgappas for a living now. She is but one of many Indian sportswomen who have won international awards only to come back to a life of poverty.
  • Women training at Kanteerva Stadium in Bengaluru have faced harassment in their toilets, only to have the authorities ignore their complaints till the media got a wind of the issue. Issues like these continue to discourage Indian parents from allowing their daughters to pursue sports.

What is the cause of the problem?

Sportswomen often got the short end of the stick in comparison to their male counterparts. The main gap remains in representation. These problems can’t be solved overnight. But everything can change with proper representation.

Sportswomen earlier were often left out from getting endorsements and sponsors. But an increasing interest in women’s sports, especially Badminton, Table Tennis, Hockey & Wrestling, is changing all of that.

Thus change in approach to team and player management plays a big role in ensuring equal exposure to women athletes.  Once that comes through, the results are for us to see:

  • Female wrestler Sakshi Malik won India bronze at the 2016 Rio Games
  • The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team won a bronze at the 2013 World Cup.
  • The Indian Women’s Hockey Team ranked first place in 2017’s Asia Cup.
  • Saina Nehwal became first Indian woman to win Olympic medal in Badminton
  • PV Sindhu bagged silver in women’s singles Badminton at Asian Games 2018 & Olympics

What needs to change?

Changes made in both sports organization as well as in social culture, will make women’s sports more functional. Equal representation by women athletes and team managers in various levels will create a more conducive environment for fresh talents. Sports managers have a major role in this, as seasoned professional experience will help identify and rectify the pain points inherent in the system.

The benefits will be:

  • Ensuring safety of sportswomen and state of the art training facilities.
  • Endorsements for women’s sports through brand affiliations & sponsors.
  • Changing of social attitudes and providing equal opportunities.
  • Stipends and scholarships for promising talents to ensure a stable future.

There’s no denying the fact that, sport is yet another vocation where Indian women are ready to conquer. So, alternative sport careers like team management and allied services should also get prominence to help women achieve better in the arena. With this thought in mind NSHM launched BBA in Sports Management to help bridge the gap.

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