By Chris Murray
For many years in the past, women have been seen as the “weaker” sex. They have been denied many rights through the years, such as voting, working, and taking part in sport. Statistics done by “Pay Equity of Ontario” show that in 2011, men were being paid 26% more than women for the same jobs. Although women may not yet be on the same level as men as far as wages and some other areas, there are definitely more and more women participating in sport and leisure activities as the years go on.
An example recently popped up in my life regarding gender differences in sport. I currently play, as well as referee intramural basketball every Sunday night. I play in a men’s intramural league, and referee both men’s and women’s games. The men’s league has twelve teams registered, whereas the women’s league has only four. As discussed in class, this gives an example of how particular sports seem to be male dominated. In the women’s league, there are two dominant teams and two teams that are less strong. To avoid blow-out games, the organizer fixed the schedule so that the two strong teams play against each other every week, and the two weak teams play against each other. The problem with this is that it has gotten very boring for the women, and they have begun to not even bother showing up to basketball. This has caused some of the women on these teams to be upset, because they go to the gym on their Sunday night expecting to play, and are told that the other team did not show up so there will be no game. Since the women’s teams barely ever show up, the two strong women’s teams decided to join up and form one team and play in the men’s league. I feel that it is a good thing that they are not intimidated to join the men’s league, since they know that they are talented players. The negative side is that there are now only two teams left in the women’s league, so it will probably be disbanded.
The women’s team was scheduled to play their first game in the men’s league recently, and I was assigned to referee the game. I was telling the men`s team that they would be playing the women’s team that night and the first comment from one of the players was “well we better not lose to girls”. It really shocked me to hear him say that because I thought that this younger generation was beginning to get away from sexism. It made me realize how prevalent that sexist talk still is. Being unhappy about the comment and knowing the skill of the women’s team, I told him that he better wait until he saw the final score to talk. Sure enough, the women beat the men’s team in a close game. Despite the size difference, the women won based on being far more skilled. I thought this was an excellent example of women defying stereotypes. They showed that they are not to be looked down upon simply because of their sex, and maybe now the men’s teams will take them more seriously.