Representation of Women In Sports
During early 2015, a news article got over shadowed by other important current affairs. Luckily, I read that piece of news and the Wikipedian in me jumped to get the information published on the online encyclopedia.
I took my sweet time; researched a bit, read many more news articles and found about Bhakti Sharma before expanding the Wikipedia article. Not just that, on the advise of a senior Wikipedian, I also submitted my first DYK (Did You Know) . Now DYKs are hard as one needs to check for word limits, valid references, and do all that within a defined period else it gets too late to call it a Did You Know.
While I was proud of being able to submit a nomination that also got featured, what I failed to realize at that time was a very simple thing. How come I, a fairly new Wikipedian who edits on and off, got the chance to submit a nomination? And then it struck me.
Wikipedia is a reliable source and volunteers all over the world edit pages round the clock. Most of the times edits on famous news articles or personalities are made almost the instant the information is available. The not so popular ones take time. That’s exactly what happened with Bhakti Sharma.
On January 10, 2015, she became the youngest in the world and first Asian girl to swim in freezing water of Antarctica for 2.25 km, beating the earlier record. She swam for 52 minutes, covering 2.25 km distance in the freezing waters of Antarctica while the temperature was one degree.
Women in sports do not get as much attention and representation in media. We worship Cricket and treat cricketers as God. Around the world soccer is another sport that’s popular. I know people take off to follow the FIFA world cup and watch every single match. You know Sachin Tendulkar and you also know Manish Pandey who recently scored a century and led India to victory in a one-day match with Australia.
How many of you know Bhakti Sharma? How many of you know that Geeta Phogat won India’s first ever gold medal in women’s wrestling in the 55 kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games? Do you know Becky Hammon is the first female full-time assistant coach in the history of NBA.
There are many other women like Bhakti, Geeta and Becky and we don’t know of their achievements. We may have not even heard of them.
I am not generalizing and I am aware that things are changing. I am aware that Saina Nehwal gets endorsements and Sania Mirza is a celebrity. I am aware more women are running marathons and learning how to coach. But how many women commentators are out there? How many women sports journalists do you read and follow? Is it the skill or the will? Is it the opportunity women can take up or the lack of it?
Something is not right but we fail to notice it.
I want a world where when I get to edit an article on a sportswoman, I see it’s already done. A day when the news of a world record by a woman makes it as big as a man. Where the news is news and it’s gender neutral.
Do you think it’s possible?
I won the third prize in the contest by The Sports Mirror Blogging Contest in association with Blogchatter!’
This blog was posted in response to the The Sports Mirror Blogging Contest in association with Blogchatter!’