Women vs. Men in Sports
Why don't women perform as well at sports as men do? Is it
because women are not as strong as men are?
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.
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.