Women vs. Men in Sports

The Question
Why don't women perform as well at sports as men do? Is it because women are not as strong as men are?

The Myth
Although it is commonly believed that women are not as skilled at sports as men are due to their lack of muscle strength, a recent study suggests that there may be other factors involved. The study points out that myths about the female body were quite common until fairly recently. In fact, it is only within the last 300 years that anatomists have begun to stress the differences between the male and female body. Until this time, the female body was merely regarded as a weaker, less efficient, form of the male body.

The Result
Because of these views on the female body, women were actively warned by their physicians not to engage in exercise, because their bodies were too weak to handle it. Men, on the other hand, have been actively exercising and engaging in sports for about as long as men have existed. Women have had a lot of ground to cover to make up for lost time, but they are accomplishing this admirably. Women's best marathon times are about 10 minutes behind men's. However, records for women have only been kept since 1964. The best times for men have improved by a yearly increment of 66 seconds, whereas the best times for women have improved by a yearly increment of 2 minutes and 47 seconds. It would seem as though women are racing to catch up with the men.

Another change that has occurred recently is that women are now frequently participating in sports that were previously thought to be only for men, such as ice hockey and boxing. Women are probably capable of excelling in all sports that require skill as opposed to pure brawn. Some women are even excelling in sports that emphasize muscle strength over skill. The most likely explanation is that women are just lagging behind because they have not had as much practice or as much time to improve in these areas as men have. Given enough time, support, and encouragement, women may be able to compete equally with men in many sports.

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