I went into Sports Medicine for a lot of reasons – one of the biggest reasons has to be the huge health benefits that physical activity has for the general population. Sure, it’s exciting to be pitch-side at a major sporting event treating professional athletes, but sport and its benefits are for everyone and clearly that includes WOMEN!
So isn’t it time we spend more money on female sports in the UK? In fact, shouldn’t we consider legislation to increase spending on female sports?
Let’s take a look at the other side of the pond:
In 1972 the USA passed a law called Title IX, which is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal Financial assistance.”
This policy meant that Federal Funding could not legally give preference to men. Resources had to be allocated to both men and women. The intention of the policy was to change the norms that gave preference to males in all sorts of fields, including sport.
Let’s look at the consequences of Title IX:
- Participation in high school and college sports increased by 904% and 456% respectively.
- Today, 42% of high school athletes and 45% of college athletes are women.
The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation recently found that, shockingly, nearly half of the National Governing Bodies for UK sports had less than a quarter of women on their Boards. Women are being horribly underrepresented in all areas of sport from performance to organization. The message is clear – we need more women getting involved in sport at all levels, and to do this female sport needs equal funding.
The benefits of sport are wide-ranging and have been widely reported on. Not only does regular sporting activity decrease the risk of chronic disease, but sport also helps to improve mental well being, can improve your performance in the working world and can boost your communication skills. It’s time that more women got a taste of these benefits. This is certainly one area where the UK can learn from the USA – money is at the heart of the matter: Increase funding – increase participation. Simple.