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Christopher Richards

Women in Sports
Women’s participation in sport has a long history. It is a history marked by division and
discrimination but also one filled with major accomplishments by female athletes and important
advances for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
In the ancient Olympics 776 b.c, women were not even allowed to watch the competitions.
However, the precise history of women sports can be traced back to the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century. In early 20th century, a separate women's athletic event, the Heraea Games
featuring footraces for women, held every four years was eventually developed. But there was
only few women participated in the sports. Although married women were excluded from the
Olympics even as spectators, Cynisca won an Olympic game as owner of a chariot (champions
of chariot races were owners not riders), as did Euryleonis, Belistiche, Zeuxo, Encrateia and
Hermione, Timareta, Theodota and Cassia.

The educational committees of the French Revolution (1789) included intellectual, moral, and
physical education for girls and boys alike. With the victory of Napoleon less than twenty years
later, physical education was reduced to military preparedness for boys and men. In Germany,
the physical education of Guts Muths (1793) included girl's education. This included the
measurement of performances of girls. This led to women's sport being more actively pursued in
Germany than in most other countries. When the Fédération Sportive Féminine
Internationale was formed as an all-women’s international organization it had a German male
vice-president, and German international success in elite sports.
Women's sports in the late 1800s focused on correct posture, facial and bodily beauty, muscles,
and health.

Some notable achievements of women in the nineteen century are as follows:
In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots is said to be the first woman to play golf in Scotland. She
scandalizes the country when she plays golf a few days after her husband Lord Darnley's murder.
1704 Feisty Sarah Kemble Knight undertakes a solo horseback journey from Boston to New
York.
1811The first women's golf tournament is held at Musselburgh, Scotland.
1856 Catherine Beecher publishes the first exercise manual for women.
1875 Wellesley College opens and requires physical education as part of the curriculum.
Annie Oakley beats her future husband, champion marksman Frank Butler, at a shooting
competition.
1884 The women's singles competition begins at Wimbledon. Maud Watson is the first
champion.

sporting organizations and sport media. . figure skater Madge Syers of Britain enters the men's world championships and places second. as social changes favored increased female participation in society as equals with men. During the early nineteen century the following outstanding sports performance of women and women organizations are noted below. she would win the first women's Olympic gold medal. for a variety of social and psychological reasons that are still poorly understood. The first Olympic Games in the modern era. stated: “No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be. 1924 Figure skating is the only sport open to women at the first Winter Olympic Games. relatively few did. but since then the number of women who have participated in the Olympic Games have increased dramatically.Christopher Richards 1895 Annie Smith Peck is the first woman to climb the Matterhorn. Baron Pierre de Coubertin. which were in 1896 were not open to women. 1902 Since there was no women's competition. In 1896. 1897 Lena Jordan becomes the first person to perform a triple somersault on the trapeze. 1901 Annie Taylor is the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. founder of the modern Olympics.” Such stereotypes fuelled gender-based discrimination in physical education and in recreational and competitive sport. her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks. In 1908. 1907 St. Louis. Although women were technically permitted to participate in many sports. There was often disapproval of those who did. In 1916 the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) held its first national championship for women. 1917 Lucy Diggs Slowe becomes the first African-American woman to win a national title in any sport when she wins the first women's title at the American Tennis Association (ATA) national tournament. and croquet. 1922 The AAU opens track and field events to women. 1900 Women compete in the Paris Olympics in golf. Mo. becomes the home of the first organized women's bowling league. 1914 The American Athletic Union (AAU) allows women to register for the national swimming championships. tennis. 1926 Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim the English Channel. Few women competed in sports in Europe and North America until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The number of Olympic women athletes increased over five-fold in the period. Concern over the physical strength and stamina of women led to the discouragement of female participation in more physically intensive sports. though women at first participated in considerably fewer events than men.Christopher Richards "Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. croquet. As of the IOC-Congress in Paris 1914 a woman's medal had formally the same weight as a man's in the official medal table. Most early women's professional sports leagues foundered. In response to the lack of support for women's international sport the Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale was founded in France. Germany and Scandinavia also developed strong women's athletic programs in this period. . 22 women competed in tennis. sailing. Throughout the mid-twentieth century." The modern Olympics had female competitors from 1900 onward. The International Olympic Committee began to incorporate greater participation of women at the Olympics in response. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. Amateur competitions became the primary venue for women's sports. including women's sports. Communist countries dominated many Olympic sports." Susan B. and golf. equestrian. Thus netball was developed out of basketball and softball out of baseball. Women first made their appearance in the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. as former Communist countries continue to produce many of the top female athletes. going from 65 at the 1920 Summer Olympics to 331 at the 1936 Summer Olympics. That year. due to state-sponsored athletic programs that were technically regarded as amateur. This is often attributed to a lack of spectator support. Anthony said "I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride on a wheel. Some remarkable achievements are as follows: 1928 Women finally compete in Olympic track and field events. This left the decisions about women's participation to the individual international sports federations. The legacy of these programs endured. and in some cases led to less physically demanding female versions of male sports. This organization initiated the Women's World Games. which attracted participation of nearly 20 countries and was held four times between 1922 and 1934.

1956 Althea Gibson is the first black person to win a tennis Grand Slam title when she wins the French Championship (the future French Open). 1955 The first LPGA Championship is held. 1943 The All American Girls' Baseball League was formed to fill ballparks emptied by baseball players going to war. . She strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrigin an exhibition game. 1957 Althea Gibson becomes the top-ranked women's tennis player with Wimbledon and U. 1948 Patty Berg and others found the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA). She grabs her gold in the high jump. 1944 Swimmer Ann Curtis is the first woman to win the Sullivan Award. She's the first woman to score an ace in a United States Golf Association tournament. 1964 Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina completes her Olympic career with a total of 18 medals— more than any other athlete in Olympic history. 1954 16-year-old Canadian Marilyn Bell is the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. 1953 Maureen Connolly becomes the first woman to win a Grand Slam—all four major tennis championships. N.S. 1950 12-year-old Kathryn Johnson becomes the first girl to play Little League Baseball in Corning. It's unofficial since women weren't officially entered until 1972.S. 1960 Wilma Rudolph is the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals in track and field at one Olympic Games.Christopher Richards 1931 Virne Mitchell. becomes the first woman in professional baseball. 1966 Roberta Gibb becomes the first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon. 1959 Patty Berg hits a hole-in-one in the U. 1932 Babe Didrikson wins the team championship singlehandedly at the AAU national track and field meet. Women's Open. 1948 Alice Coachman is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. 1950 Florence Chadwick beats Gertrude Ederle's 1926 record for swimming the English Channel. Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landisbans women from the sport later that year. 1952 Women and men compete together in Olympic equestrian events. 1962 The National Women's Rowing Association is founded. pitcher. 1937 Conchita Cintron of Chile begins her bullfighting career in Mexico.Y. Championships under her belt. 1947 Barbara Washburn becomes the first woman to climb Mount McKinley. 1968 Wyomia Tyus is the first woman to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100 m dash.

and ground was broken for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Sharon Sites Adams is the first woman to sail solo across the Pacific Ocean.S. the number of females playing sports in high school had increased threefold since Title IX was implemented.S. China.. and Norway. From 1970s. the first woman to swim the 100-yard freestyle in one minute at the 1932 Olympics. 1972 The U. female student participation in sports was remarkably encouraged by the Title 9 Act in 1972.S. tennis became the most popular professional female sport. full-court basketball. who in 1994 became the first African woman to win a major marathon. preventing gender discrimination and equal opportunity for women to participate in sport at all levels. Among the many remarkable achievements are those of Helene Madison of the United States of America.4 million.Christopher Richards 1969 Diane Crump rides onto Hialeah Racetrack and becomes the first woman to ride in a United States parimutuel race. few schools have women's programs in American football. But.1 Women have taken up . goaltender Jenny Hanley of Hamline University became the first women to play on a men's college ice hockey team. This is how the history of women sports evolved and developed. In 1996 the number of female high school athletes reached 2. and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya. 1164 wrestlers. boxing or wrestling.. This popularity has been asymmetric. the first such hall of fame devoted to exclusively women athletes. Congress passes Title IX to foster more equitable federal financial aid to women's sports programs In the United States. Bernadette Mattox became the first female Division I coach of a men's basketball team at the University of Kentucky. certain European countries and former Communist states. pressure from sports funding bodies has also improved gender equality in sports. including 819 football players. women's professional team sports achieved popularity for the first time in the 1990s. 1971 Women finally get the official nod to play five-player. the first woman from an Islamic nation to win an Olympic medal for the 400-metre hurdles at the 1984 Olympics. Maria-Teresa de Filippis of Italy. particularly in basketball and football. women participate professionally and as amateurs in practically every major sport. women's soccer was originally dominated by the U. though the level of participation typically lessens when it comes to the more violent contact sports. and 1471 ice hockey players Today. In 1990. being strongest in the U. However. Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco. The next year she would become the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby. Thus. By 1994. However. the first woman to compete in a European Grand Prix auto race in 1958. A year later.

West Indies men have been way behind in achievement. Then came the 2009 World Championships in Berlin where she took gold in the 100m and 4 x 100m relay.” . From 2010 the tournament became the NACRA Women’s Rugby Championship. More and more women have also taken up employment opportunities in all areas of sport. Only Trinidad and Jamaica took part in that first event. Seven-a-side rugby is growing inter-island sport. such as Presidents and Secretaries-General of National Olympic Committees. at age 21. The tournament now takes place annually. Jamaica and featuring Guyana. Her attaining The International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Female World Athlete of the Year award for 2013 is testament to just how much hard work pays off. According to Colin Croft “More difficult to understand is the lack of appreciation of the females in sports in 2011. particularly their reproductive health. These achievements were made in the face of numerous barriers based on gender discrimination. managers. including as coaches. officials and sport journalists. In the Caribbean many women perform with distinction in sports such as Jamaican Stafanie Taylor has been the catalyst for West Indies women’s cricket for the last three years. this time in Kingston. In September 2006 a second event was organized. 2008. Simply comparing the input and success of West Indies Women cricket teams to those of their male counterparts seems like cheese to chalk. although the 2007 edition as cancelled at the last minute owing to a hurricane hitting the Cayman Island where the tournament was due to take place. however. she copped the International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘Women’s Cricketer of the Year’ award. In 2011 and 2012. Women were often perceived as being too weak for sport. in 2013.Christopher Richards top leadership positions in sport. Trinidad winning over two legs in Port of Spain. such as marathons. a separate play-off for the Caribbean title was organized for the island teams taking part. the North America and West Indies Rugby Association. the hat-trick couldn’t be completed. weightlifting and cycling. However. The NAWIRA Caribbean Women’s 15-a-side Rugby Championship. particularly endurance sports. She became the first Caribbean woman to win 100m Olympic gold in Beijing. The hosts were again winners by the narrowest of margins. After 2009 NAWIRA was reorganized as NACRA (North America and Caribbean Rugby Association) in order to better encourage participation by unions outside the English-speaking West Indies. and it was often argued in the past that sport was harmful to women’s health. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a paragon of virtue on and off the track. but the full 15-a-side game is significantly more resource intensive and so it was only with the financial support of the IRB that the first tournament took place in December 2003.

html icnsportsweb. women’s increased involvement can promote positive development in sport by providing alternative norms.un.pdf en. capabilities and experiences. 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER SPORTS . knowledge.com/category/women-in-sport/ en.wikipedia. can bring diversity and alternative approaches and expand the talent base in areas such as management.org/wiki/caribbean_women’s_rugby_championship Excerpt from “West Indies Women Cricketers are Caribbean’s Sports Personalities for 2011!” DECEMBER 29. In particular.org/en/home/advocate/title-ix-and-issues/history-oftitle-ix/h www. The contributions of women.com/important-facts-history-women.com/spot/womeninsportstimeline.womenssportsfoundation. Women’s involvement in sport can make a significant contribution to public life and community development. www. women in sport leadership can shape attitudes towards women’s capabilities as leaders and decision-makers.org/womenwatch/daw/public/women and sport. coaching and sport journalism. particularly in leadership positions.html www. The participation of women and girls in sport challenges gender stereotypes and discrimination.Christopher Richards The benefits of women’s participation for sport and society In addition to benefits for women and girls themselves. especially in traditional male domains.playcaribbeansports.infoplease. and can therefore be a vehicle to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.org/wiki/women's sports www. values.wikipedia. attitudes.