For generations, women have been striving for an equal playing field with men - first in the voting booths, then in the workplace, and now literally on the playing field. When it comes to competitive and professional sports, women often have their own corresponding leagues to match the men’s, but there is an ongoing question as to the equality between the separate leagues.
The fact that women and men are physically different is not up for debate; in many cases, like with hockey, it would be unsafe for men and women to compete when physical contact is such a big part of the game. The natural size and strength imbalance between the sexes would have dangerous implications for checking, a standard part of the game
But even with separate leagues for women and men, the matter of equality is still up for debate. As spectator sports, the popularity of women’s athletics is pale in comparison to that of men’s leagues. While many argue that this is a matter entertainment value rather than gender equality, the fact of the matter is that the less attention female athletics get, the fewer resources and support their sports programs receive.
So it seems that in order to improve women’s sports programs we must increase exposure to ladies’ athletics - and what could be better than a worldwide competition like the Olympics?
When counting medals for your country, a woman’s gold counts just as much as a man’s. This year in Sochi, women succeeded and were celebrated just the same as their male counterparts. Female competitors from both the US and Canada made their countries proud this year by winning dozens of medals by the end of the winter games.
All three podium spots for women’s slope style skiing as well as women’s moguls were held by North American competitors this year. For slope style, Canada’s Dara Howell and Kim Lamarre took gold and bronze respectively, with Devin Logan of the United States winning silver. On the mogul course Canada’s Dufour-Lapointe sisters took gold and silver while Hannah Kearney of the US took third place.
And who can forget the championship women’s hockey match between Canada and USA? To end it after a nail-biter of an overtime period, Marie-Philip Poulin fired one into the goal, clinching the gold medal win for Canada, and USA with second place silver medal.
The celebration of women’s sports during the Olympics was certainly encouraging - let’s hope these talented female athletes continue to experience the “Olympic boost” during the four years until the next winter games. If it’s a matter of entertainment, then the 2014 Winter Olympics have proven that women’s sports are in fact a blast to watch!