What is the impact of women’s sports?

female soccer player in australian national team jersey celebrating on the field

Men have been able to participate in high impact sports since, well, forever but this hasn’t been the case for women. In fact, up until the 1960s women faced many restrictions on how, where and when they could participate in any kind of sporting activity. Crazy isn’t it? 

Nowadays, things are a lot more relaxed, and many women are starting to take up high impact sports in larger numbers for a myriad of different reasons. In this article, we’ll explore how women in high-impact sports are making a positive impact on our culture and society at large. 

Challenging gender stereotypes

black and white photo of marathon runners with one female athlete wearing number 261 being physically restrained by a race official
Female runner number 261 in a historic marathon being held back by an official surrounded by male runners

Back in the old days, women were encouraged to only play sports that didn’t “challenge the gender stereotype”, which basically meant that our choices were lawn bowls (yawn) or croquet (double yawn). Any sport that might result in one breaking a sweat was a strict no-no. High-impact sports? Forget about it. 

Even swimming for women was heavily restricted up until the 20s and 30s. Prior to that, women weren’t allowed to swim in the company of males and could only access public pools and beaches at certain times of the day. 

Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, however women still feel reluctant to take up high impact sports (likely due to residual side effects from previous generations). But as those numbers slowly creep up, women in high-impact sports are having a positive impact by showing young girls that they can participate in any sport they’re interested in. 

Increasing confidence and teamwork skills 

It’s no secret that all sports, including high-impact sports, are a great way to build your confidence and teamwork skills. Traditionally, high-impact sports are where young boys learn how to work as a team and strive for excellence in their chosen field. These skills are vital for success in a career too. However, because women haven’t been encouraged to participate as much in the past, young girls are missing out on learning these key skills that will help in other areas of their lives. 

By showcasing more women in high-impact sports, our young girls and women will feel empowered to take up sport and thus experience the second-hand benefits that team sport and high-impact sports provide. 

Providing positive reinforcement to women 

Funnily enough, when children are in primary school all genders have the same level of interest in playing sports. However, once kids hit their teenage years, girls drop out of sport at a rate that is six times larger than boys. Why is that? According to the Women’s sports foundation, young girls simply don’t receive as much positive reinforcement to play high-impact sports as their male counterparts do. 

They don’t see many (if any) women participating in high-impact sports on the TV, and they receive subtle messages from families, friends and society that they aren’t expected to be good at sports. 

But that message is slowly starting to change as more women get involved in high-impact sports. By seeing women represented more often in high-impact sports, young girls will feel encouraged to continue playing the sports they enjoy. 

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