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The case for – and against – men and women competing against each other in sports


Gender equality has been at the forefront of social discussions in recent years. And rightfully so. In various facets of life, including the workplace, salaries, and civil rights, it’s crucial that all individuals are granted a fair and equal opportunity. When it comes to sports, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the gap in physical abilities between the two genders.

It’s easy to understand the frustration of women athletes regarding this issue. Like in many other areas of society, women have a much lower glass ceiling when it comes to compensation. Women’s sports simply do not generate as much profit as men. Consequently, female athletes earn far less income than their male counterparts. This begs the sensible question of whether women should be permitted to participate in what have long been male-only leagues.

The case for – and against – men and women competing against each other in sports

From a purely logical standpoint, it makes perfect sense that women who are talented, strong, and fast enough to compete with the men in their respective sport, should be permitted to compete with the best, regardless of any perceived disadvantage. It’s impossible to deny that men have a genetic advantage over women when it comes to physical sports, including football, hockey, and basketball. But if even one female athlete is good enough to compete with the men, why should she automatically be discounted simply for the fact that she was born a woman?

As we dive a little deeper into this topic, there are logical arguments for both sides. The first thing that should be considered is the nature of the sport. In tennis for example, Serena Williams is a female physical specimen. In fact, she is likely stronger and better than some of the men in the sport. Allowing her to compete with men would make a lot of sense. Unlike in a sport like football, if Serena was unable to defeat her male opponents, she would simply be defeated in the match itself. But there would be no further risk of physical injury to her. It makes perfect sense to enable to free and open competition of any sport. If a woman can perform better than men, she should not be automatically disqualified from doing so.

The other side of the spectrum points to some logical arguments that support to current segregation of genders in some sports. For instance, track and field are a great example of the physical advantages that men have over women from a biological perspective. In short sprints, women will generally be at a disadvantage when competing against men. It will make it nearly impossible for a woman to outperform all the men in the category. It’s a comparison that is legitimate, similar to placing two fighters in a ring, who belong in vastly different categories. A 150 pound fighter would find it hard to defeat another fighter who weighs 300 pounds. That’s why there are even categories that segregate weight discrepancies within the same gender.

The case for – and against – men and women competing against each other in sports

Ultimately, sports are created to ensure a level playing field. It is clear that the entertainment side of sports lead to a rise in fan base (and money). When one team is far inferior to the opponent, the public is less entertained, since the winner is presumed ahead of time.

Still, there needs to be some type of reform created in certain sports, which could allow for a woman to compete at the highest levels. As long as the level of play does not deteriorate, there really is no justifiable reason to prevent women from participating in male competitions.