Women and History of Sports

General News | Feb-18-2021

Women and History of Sports

Few women competed in sports until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as social changes in Europe and North America favored increased female participation in society as equals with men, as exemplified by the women’s rights movement. Although women were permitted to participate in many sports, relatively few showed interest, for a spread of social and psychological reasons that are still poorly understood. The fashionable Olympics had female competitors from 1900 onward, though women initially participated in considerably fewer events. Concern for the physical strength and stamina of girls led to the discouragement of female participation in additional physically intensive sports, and in some cases led to less physically demanding female versions of male sports. Thus netball was developed out of basketball and softball out of baseball. Thanks to a relative lack of public interest in female athletics, most early women’s professional sports leagues found, so amateur competitions became the first venue for women’s sports. Throughout the mid-twentieth century, Communist countries dominated many Olympic sports, including women’s sports, thanks to state-sponsored athletic programs that were technically considered amateur. The legacy of those programs endured, as former Communist countries still produce many of the highest female athletes. Germany and Scandinavia also developed strong women’s athletic programs during this period. Within us, nearly all schools required student participation in sports, guaranteeing that each girl was exposed to athletics at an early age, which was generally not the case in Western Europe and Latin America.

By: Khushboo

Birla Scool, Pilani