To gain more personal insights into the sexualisation of female athletes and lack of gender parity in the elite sports system, we took to social media to gain a better understanding of how the wider public view the issue. Women took part in a survey that was posted to Facebook and Instagram to gather their opinions on the problems that exist around women’s sport.
Question 1: Would being required to wear small fitting or exposing uniforms prevent you from taking up a new sport? Either professional or as a hobby.
While this survey was provided to the general public, not solely to elite female athletes, 73.91% of respondents still believed that a revealing uniform would discourage them from taking up a sport. This majority opinion may represent that there is a further issue to investigate here that focuses on uniform being a barrier that hinders women from participating in sport.
Question 2: While watching the Olympics, or any other sporting event, have you ever questioned the skimpy outfits some female athletes are required to wear?
52.17% of respondents have never questioned the outfits, regardless of how revealing they are, suggesting that this may be a problem that can easily go overlooked or unrecognised in the industry.
Question 3: Do you think sexualisation of female athletes would decrease if there were more female leaders in positions of power?
To support my angle, 100% of the respondents believe that an increase of female leaders in power positions would decrease the rate of female athlete sexualisation. This is an over-riding opinion that was expressed through interviews with professional athletes and sports people, which stated that female leaders would be able to relate to the needs and problems of female athletes.
Question 4: Do you think the sports industry, in general, is doing enough to ensure gender equality? Both in leadership and athlete wellbeing.
100% of respondents think that the sports industry is not doing enough active work to ensure gender equality. With the majority of the participants not being professional athletes, this question shows that even the wider public feel that more needs to be done to ensure equality, both in leadership and athlete wellbeing.
Question 5: Have you ever felt uncomfortable or at risk doing any form of sporting/physical exercise as a woman?
Despite the responses collected so far, the majority of female participants (52.17%) have never felt at risk when doing a form of exercise. However, the majority is only slight with 47.83% stating that they have felt at risk. This implies that beyond the professional sport system, there is still a wider societal problem with the female population feeling uncomfortable when exercising.
Question 6: As the world is becoming more open to different gender identities, do you think professional sporting uniform should reflect this?
The result from question 6, of which 100% of participants responded ‘yes’ to, implies that the sports system is not reflecting the worlds progression in welcoming different gender identities which may discourage athletes from pursuing a future in sports.
Question 7: In terms of leadership, the sports industry has traditionally been dominated by men. Do you think we will ever see the industry being gender equal?
While the view points collected from this survey express that not enough is being done in the sports system to ensure gender equality, there is still hope as 56.52% of respondents believe that we will see a time where the sports industry values and represents gender equality.
To see more content from this issue, visit our instagram page @womenshealth_dmcs for continuous updates, empowering interviews and more information.
The account is a growing support network for athletes and those who have been exposed to sexualisation in the professional sports system, as well as those who are simply interested in learning more about gender parity and equal leadership in the industry.
Come and join the community.
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