Women Empowerment in Sports

  |    April 11th, 2018   |   0

Women Empowerment in Sports

                                                                                               Dr . Suresh Kumar Lau

Empowerment in the Indian background means that development of women competency to make informed choices and expansion of their capacity to manage their domestic and economic environment effectively and efficiently. So, the divergent scholars have felt the need of educating and empowering women because, female is generally dependent on male members of the family but empowerment will help them to be fully dependent on their capacity.

Accordingly the main importance of woman sports empowerment, for various empowering women starts at home, in the neighborhood, at school, college and university. The theme of this year 2018, International Women’s day is #Press for Progress.

Despite the demarcation and bans imposed upon them by society, women’s have been participating in competitive sports for centuries. The early Greeks believed that the mind and body were one. Physical exercise was required for both girls and boys, but for different reasons. For youth makes fit body was an indication of strength and health, the ability to excel in competition and sharpness for combat. For young women, it was less about athletic success and more about believing that by making their own bodies strong and healthy. Women would be better prepared, to endure the exhausting and painful process of labour and childbirth and produce strong, healthy sons. Once women reached adulthood, however, athletic competition was forbidden. Their place in society was confined to the roles of wife and mother.

Women Population in India

Women in India constitute almost half of its population but, unfortunately up till now it remains to be ignored and oppressed segment of the society. As per the population census report 2011 India’s population come up with 1.21 billion which compromises 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females. A recent report from the NITI Aayog said sex ratio at birth nationwide had dropped from 906 in 2012-2014 to 900 in 2013 -15.

Only 17 per cent of biographies published on Wikipedia are about female, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organization. At present, the issue of woman empowerment has gained importance worldwide in general and in the developing countries, like in India particular. The status of women in India, the constitution pledges of status and opportunity, social, economic, political justice and dignity of the individual. Indian women have proven their mettle several times from ancient time to modern time.  After India’s independence, the prime mover of modern India greatly felt the need of expansion of women sport in the country.

Modern Sport is a truly global phenomenon, bringing shared experiences to a global audience- yet sport in not universally inclusive. The article examines the relationship between sport and gender also looks back at the pioneering India sports women who were at pioneering India sports women who were to first to break the glass ceiling in their sports discipline.

Physical Activity and Exercise

Women were not allowed to attend the ancient Olympic Games at Olympia. Any caught sneaking in were taken to nearby mountain and thrown off. It took a long time before female were allowed to compete in more than handful of events. There was not even a female member of the International Olympic Committee until 1984. Women’s participation in sports is governed by anatomical, physiological and sociological concepts. These serve as obstacles in their Sports career. Owing to these problems the women have not been able to make admirable and appreciable work in the sports field as compared to men. It has been particularly proved that these problems play an important role in decreasing their efficiency to great extent and have profound effect upon their performances. But one should not forget that main objectives of women participation in competitive sports is not to compete against men but women and to foster certain physical and psychological need. In ancient times women were not allowed to take part in the Olympic Games, but they did practice sports, for which they wore a kind of bikini Roman mosaic from the 14th Century A.D. in the Piazza Armerina, Sicily. In ‘Bhagavata’ it is said that when Parvati without the consent of her husband Shiva, took a journey to her father Daksh’s home she carried a ball with her for recreation. We do not know what kind of ball was played by women in those days.

Physical activity is an important, but under recognized, factor in Women’s health. A recent research on physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general and of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancers and diabetes mellitus in particular. Physical activity also improves mental health and is important for the health of muscle, bones and joints.

Despite the benefits of Physical activity, women are less likely than men to be physically active. Overall approximately 27 percent of women participate in recommended level of physical activity and approximately 70 per cent of women are sedentary or exercise irregularly.

Modern Olympics: Current status

Little of significance took place in women’s sports in modern western societies until the reintroduction of the Olympic Games in 1896. The father and founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de- Coubertin of France reinstituted the game in 1896 but it was opposed the idea of having women participates. Despite his considerable protests, two events for women, tennis and golf were added in the 1900 games. The year 1996 will long be remembered in sports history as the “year of the sports women” more competed in the Atlanta in 1996 than in any event in the hundred year’s history of the Olympic Games. At the inaugural modern Olympic game of 1896 in Athens, women were limited to the role of spectators-clapping and cheering for the 200 male athletes competing in a sport over a two week period. A century, afterwards, more than 3000 female assembled in Atlanta to compete 100 of the 271 events held.

In 2016, at the Rio Olympic Games, the percentage of women participating was higher than ever. In Rio, 45 percent of all competitors were women. That’s more than double the figure from 1976, just 4 decades ago. 

Women and Sport Padma Award 

Three woman players have been awarded the Padma Bhushan. Five time World Champion, five time Asian champion and Olympic bronze medalist, M.C. Mary Com, first Indian eve to win an international medal in boxing and first Indian to win an Olympics medal Saina Nehwal in badminton. Court queen Sania Mirza became the first Indian to win a women’s double title at the US Open title in 2005.

Thirty six sports eve athlete’s have so far (till 2018) been awarded the Padma Shri. Most of these awards have gone to Athletics, Badminton and Cricket. The first female to receive the coveted award was athlete KamaljitSandhu in 1971. She won the 400m in 57.3 sec. at the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1970. Sunil Dabas became India’s first eve coach to get both Padma Shri in 2014 and Dronacharya Award (To honour eminent coaches who have successfully trained sportsperson or teams and enable them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions) in 2012.

Awarded the Padma Bhushan (women)
S.No.           Name                                        Sport                    Year
1.                M.C. Mary Kom                          Boxing                   2013
2.                  Saina Nehwal                              Badminton             2016
3.                  Sania Mirza                                 Tennis                    2016

Awarded the Padma Shri (women)

S.No.           Name                                        Sport                    Year                 
1.                  Deepika Kumari                          Archery                   2016
2.                  Deepa Malik                                Athletics                 2017
3.                KamaljitSandhu                        Athletics                1971
4.                GeetaZutshi                              Athletics                1983
5.                M.D. Valsamma                        Athletics                1983
6.                P.T. Usha                                  Athletics                1985
7.                Shiny Abraham Wilson               Athletics                1998
8.                Sunita Rani                              Athletics                2001
9.                Malathi K. Holla (Disabled)         Athletics                2001
10.               JyotirmoyeeSikdar                     Athletics                2003
11.               Anju Bobby George                    Athletics                2004
12.               K.M. Benamol                           Athletics                2004
13.               Krishna Poonia                          Athletics                2011
14.               Meena Shah                              Badminton            1977
15.               MadhumitaBisht                       Badminton            2006
16.               SainaNehwal                             Badminton             2010
17.                P.V. Sindhu                                Badminton              2015
18.               M.C. Mary Kom                          Boxing                   2006
19.               KoneruHumphy                         Chess                    2007

20    Anupama  raghunandan  Gokhale       Chess        1986

21 Bhagya shree Praveen thipsay              Chess      1987

22.                Anjum Chopra                            Cricket                    2014
23.                Mithali Raj                                  Cricket                    2014
24.               Diana Edulji                              Cricket                  2002
25.               JhulanGoswami                        Cricket                  2012
26.                Dipa Karmarkar                          Gymnastic              2017
27.             Eliza Nelson                              Hockey                  1983
28                SabaAnjum                                 Hockey                  2015
29               Sunil Dabas (Coach)                    Kabaddi                 2014
30              BhuvneshwariKumari                Squash Racquets   2001
31             Depika Pallikal                            Squash Racquets   2014
32               Aarti Gupta                               Swimming             1960
33               BulaChoudhuryChakroborty      Swimming             2008
34               SaniaMirza                               Tennis                   2006
35              KarnamMalleshwari                   Weightlifting          1999
36              Sakshi Malik                               Wrestling                 2018

Sportswomen with honorary doctorate or D.Litt for outstanding achievements and contributions

Kannur University, Kerala, conferred the first honorary doctorate degree to former golden star P.T. Usha on Nov 1, 2000 in recognition of her contribution in athletics. P T Usha represented India from 1980 -1998 in four Olympic Games, five Asian Games and five Asian Track and field Championship during 1983- 1998. She also won more medals than any other athlete in a single global championship at Jakarta, in 1985 which included five gold medals and one bronze medal. 

Name Discipline Date and Year Awarded by University
P.T. Usha Athletics Nov 1, 2000 Kannur University (Kerala)
Sania Mirza Tennis Dec. 11, 2008 MGR Educational and Research Institute University, Chennai (TN)
M.C. Mary Kom Boxing Nov. 3, 2012 Mangalayatan University, Aligarh (UP)
Saina Nehwal Badminton Nov. 3, 2012 Mangalayatan University, Aligarh (UP)
Saina Nehwal Badminton Oct 18, 2016 S.R.M University Chennai (TN)
P.T. Usha Athletics June 16, 2017 IIT, Kanpur (UP)
Dipa Karmarkar Gymnastics Nov 11, 2017 NIT, Agartala (Tripura)

Olympic medal won by Indian Women

India has just 25 medals in it diversified Olympic history between 1928 and 2016. Five of the 25 have came into women’s (One silver and four bronze medals) weightlifting (bronze), boxing (bronze), badminton (bronze and silver) and wrestling (bronze). KarnamMalleshwari (69 kg) was the first to win Olympic medal, a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She lifted a total of 240 kg, including 100 kg in snatch and 130 kg in the clean and jerk. P.V. Sindhu was the first Indian badminton player to play an Olympic final. She won a silver medal in the women’s singles event at Rio Olympics in 2016.

World Medal winners by Indian women

First Indian eve Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal in long jump at the 2003 World Championship in Paris in August, 2003. She was the first women athlete to win a medal in the World Championship. Saina Nehwal won the silver medal in the World Championship in Jakarta. P.V. Sindhu won the first medal at 2013 World Championship in Guangzhou, China. P.V. Sindhu was the first Indian women singles player to win the World Championship (two bronze).  M.C. Mary Kom has won a record five championships (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010). In Chess SubbaramanVijyalakshmi got the International Master’s title in 2002. Koneru Humpy was in 2007 youngest woman to achieve the Grandmaster title. In cricket JhulanGoswami was the first women cricketer to win the ICC cricketer award in 2007.Mithali Raj is the highest run scorer in women’s ODI. Anjum Chopra becomes the first women cricketer from India to be awarded honorary life membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club (Lords, England). In Billiards R Umadevi won her first world ladies Billiards and Snooker Association title. Dipa Karmakar of Agartala, Tripura became the first Indian woman to qualify for the Olympics and made history by reaching the vault final and finishing fourth in Rio Olympics on 14th August, 2016. Sania Mirza became the first to win women’s doubles title at the USA open. Alka Tomar of the Noida College of Physical Education won a bronze in the women’s category. 59 kg class at the senior World Championship 2006 in Guangzhou, China.

In a rare honour for an Indian Sportsperson, SaniaNehwal has been appointed member of the International Olympic committee’s.

Renaissance in Indian women’s sport at Asian Games

In the inaugural 1951 Asian Games, women accounted for 3 medals, 2 silver and one bronze only. Indian sportswomen’s first Asian Games haul came at the 1951 Asian Games at National Stadium (now known as Dhyan Chand Stadium), when Roshan Mistry won a silver in the 100 m, while Mary D’ Souza won a bronze in the 200m.Stephie D’Souza, Christine Brown, Violet  Peters and Mary D’Souza won the gold in the 4×100 m relay at the second Asian Games, in 1954. It was the first gold medal awarded to an Indian women’s team at the Asian Games. A renaissance in Indian women’s sport at Asian Games. Of the 57 medals that India won at Asian Games, 2014, in Incheon , South Korea, women accounted for 27, surpassing 20 in Guangzhou 2010, the 17 in Doha 2006 and 13 in Busan in 2002.

Historic breakthrough in Women Sports 

  • In 1894 woman are allowed to participate at Wimbledon, the premier event in the world.
  • In 1896 the Olympic Games are reinstituted, but women are barred from participating.
  • In 1912 Tennis and Swimming are the only two Olympic events for Women. However, the American women are not allowed to take part because of the scanty nature of the swimwear.
  • In 1936 women are banned from Hitler’s new Olympic village during the Berlin, 1936.
  • In 1948 London Olympic, the Fanny Blankers -Koen a Dutch woman , a 30 year old mother of two held six world records, including (women’s 100m , 80 m hurdles, 200 m 4×100 m relay, long jump and high jump) but she was only permitted to compete in four under Olympic Games rules of that time. A statue was erected in her honour in Amsterdam.
  • In 1956 Melbourne Olympic, ten medal winners were pregnant (in its early stage, is no bar to most sports).
  • In 1984 Los Angeles Olympic, the first Olympic Women’s marathon 42.195 m (26 miles 385 yards) was commenced.
  • In 1972 Boston Marathon, the best women’s time was 3:10.26. Now best women’s time is 2:23.7 (Olympic record).
  • In 2000, Sydney Olympic women compete for the first time in the same number of Olympics events as the man.
  • In 2007 Paula Radcliffe wins the New York Marathon 9 months after giving birth to her baby daughter.
  • In 2017, at 34 M.C. Mary Kom of India, a mother of three, now a Rajya Sabha MP returned to the ring and promptly won a gold at the Asian Women Boxing Championship in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), November 8, 2017. 

American women are Pre-eminent in Olympic

In Rio Olympics 2016, most striking was the performance by American women. The United States of America (USA) team got the most (46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze) medals. The American women were dominant with 27 gold medals (not including gold in mixed doubles tennis). While men won 19 gold medals. Had the female completed as a segregate country they would have positioned third overall medal table (61), behind China (70) and Britain (67) and just ahead of the USA men (60).  The USA is one of the few countries to fix sports within public education. In fact, equal access to sports for women comes with the legal protections, gained with the education amendment known as Title IX in 1972 and the Olympic and Amateur sports Act in 1978. Pre –eminent performance by USA women at Rio Olympics because of equal access to sports helps explain a nation’s success.

Promote and share information about the positive contribution that the involvement by girls and women makes sports, inter alia, health, fitness and economic issues. Encourage more women to become researchers in sport and more research to be undertaken on important issues relating to women in sport.