Take, for example, two clear cases of unequal treatment based on gender. The Japanese women’s soccer team and the Australian women’s soccer and basketball teams were relegated to economy while their male counterparts flew business class. This is despite the fact that the women’s teams are ranked higher and have played better in the past. The Japanese women’s soccer team won the World Cup last summer, and is favored to win a gold medal this year. Similarly, the Australian women’s basketball and soccer teams have much higher international rankings than the men’s teams. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the women’s basketball team “won silver medals at the last three Olympics, and won bronze in 1996. The Boomers [the men’s team] have never won an Olympics medal.”
This is…unfortunate. Unfortunately the sexism doesn’t stop when the athletes arrive in London.
Some instances of sexism in the Olympics are more subtle but equally egregious. For example, the media coverage of female athletes frequently focuses on their bodies as sex objects rather than as athletic tools, an angle rarely used to describe the men.Scotland’s Daily Record covered the U.S. women soccer team’s arrival at Glasgow and completely failed to remark on their athleticism or the fact that they are professional and globally ranked athletes. Instead, SDR focused on their sex appeal.
Women consistently show that they are good enough to compete and are skilled, dedicated ATHLETES, but it is clear that there is still a lot to be done for gender equity in treatment of athletes.