posted in Mom Stories
My daughters love looking at my “gender card,” proof that I’m female, from when I competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics.
I earned this card by letting someone stick a long Q-tip in my mouth and swab my cheek. Having been an avid tomboy, whose bulgy biceps still sometimes draw attention today, I was mildly anxious while I awaited the results.
The IOC has since done away with compulsory gender testing. But that doesn’t invalidate the news that women are represented on every participating country’s team, some even making up the majority, for the first time in Olympic history.
Of course there was some finagling involved. Saudi Arabia for instance, where it’s forbidden for women to play sports, had to be fairly crafty to come up with two Olympic-caliber female athletes.
Yet if you consider the numbers– 44% of 11,000 total competitors are women–we certainly have come a long way when it comes to sports.
The Guardian UK has some very cool interactive visuals demonstrating the athlete stats per country.
According to the Guardian, women make up 53% of Japan’s team roster, 52% of Russia’s roster, and 51% of America’s roster.
Not only that, but women’s boxing is seeing its Olympic debut, making this the first year women will participate in every sport contested by men. Luckily, this isn’t a joke, the female boxers won’t be forced to wear skirts to “distinguish them from the men.”
Women were not always a given in the Olympic Games. The first Olympic Games in ancient Greece was an all male affair. The first true female competitors are said to have participated in the 1900 Games in Paris where they played lawn tennis and golf.
In 1928 women’s athletics and gymnastics came onto the schedule.
Today most of us don’t think twice about how amazing it is that our daughters have such incredible opportunities in sports. But there’s still room for improvement. Progressive laws like Title IX, and amazing organizations like the Women’s Sports Foundation, won’t let us forget that girls and women are valid athletes deserving of more respect.
But the Olympic Games can make us forget, temporarily, how hard it sometimes is to find athletic female role models for our kids. Normally the sports pages are devoid of women. During Olympic years, suddenly we see strong females celebrated everywhere. And the real challenge is in sustaining that celebration, that respect and appreciation, beyond the Closing Ceremonies.
We may not be able to control the media, but we can nurture our children’s athletic fantasies, whether they include being an elite athlete, or simply a member of the Missy Franklin and Gabrielle Douglas fan clubs.
There’s so much to be gained from the physicality, discipline, successes and failures of sports. It would be a shame to let the Olympic momentum die and our eyes turn back to all Kardashian all the time.
Have your little girls, or little boys, been watching the Olympics? Do they have any favorite athletes? Do you wish there were more female sports shown in the media?
images from London 2012
Read more from source:“babycenter-com-baby”