10 Surprising Facts You May Not Know About Women In Sports!

At Competitive Thread, we try and be as encouraging as possible across both genders and welcome both genders with equal support to our testing sessions and our development sessions. However, there is often (though a diminishing) negative perception towards women in sports. We wanted to share some facts we found interesting about women and sports! Feel free to share any of the ones you find interesting as well!

1) In 1972, the United States congress passed Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender at educational institutions that are recipients of federal funds. Popularly called “Title IX”, this law opened the door for women to participate in sports at all levels and at previously unprecedented numbers. It is generally seen as what opened the doors up for women and their participation in sports in most of the western world.

2) Sports and education go hand in hand!

Female high school athletes are 41% more likely to graduate from college within six years compared to female high school students who did not participate in sports. (Youth and Society Journal as cited in “Study Cites Athletics’ Academic Impact.” The NCAA News, January 28, 2008.)

3) Encouragement and creating a fun environment is the key to growing the participation of women in sports!!!

76.3 percent of girls aged 9-12 cited “fun” as the primary reason to be physically active. (Melpomene Journal, Autumn 1992 Vol. 11, No. 3, p. 22 ). When we say negative things about girls who play, it’s not fun for them to be subjected to such criticism.

4) Sports benefit the development of women in many ways, in fact, we wrote a blog about it! You can see that blog HERE and read about the many benefits sports have on young and developing women!

5) A comprehensive survey of high school athletes by the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics found that girls are about twice as likely as boys to model good sportsmanship.

6) Girls in sports argue and communicate anger less than males: instead of being confrontational, when in-group disagreements arise, girls discuss things more rationally and constructively than males (this is something boys can be taught how to do). Team hugs and hand piles are overwhelmingly displays common to female athletes. (Source: http://www.momsteam.com/successful-parenting/sports-benefit-girls-in-many-ways?page=0%2C1)

7) Girls can often be just as physically capable as boys and men.

With enough strength training, women can lift, carry and march as well as men, according to Army researchers. They say 78% of female volunteers they tested could qualify for Army jobs considered very heavy, involving the occasional lifting of 100 pounds, after six months of training 90 minutes, five days a week. (Morning Call, Jan. 30, 1996.)

8) There has been a lot of progress in the last 115 years!

Although restrictions on women’s and girls’ access to and participation in sport have been present throughout history, gradual progress has been achieved. In 1900, the first 19 women competed in the modern Olympic Games in just three sports—tennis, golf and croquet. By the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, women competed in 26 out of 28 sports and represented 40.7 per cent of the total number of athletes, setting a historical record for women’s participation in the Olympic Games.

9) Girls on average start playing sports about 2 years behind boys. This can often be the defining reason in the skill gap between the two genders.

10) But there is still some ways to go for female athletes!

In a ranking of the top 50 highest-earning U.S. athletes in 2007, Tiger Woods topped the list for the fifth year in a row ($127,902,706), over half of the athletes were from the NBA, and no female athletes made the list. (“Tiger Woods Tops SI’s List of Top Earners for Fifth Straight Year.” Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, June 5, 2008.)

The 2008-2009 average NBA salary rose to $5.85 million per player, while the maximum WNBA salary for the same season was $99,500, making the NBA average 59 times higher than the WNBA’s maximum salary. (Women’s Sports Foundation calculation from WNBA & NBA, 2009.)