Sexism in Sports


Rahel Kahsai

“We are expected to win but won’t get the same credit for our wins. It’s cool we just hoop,” Layla Haji states.

Everybody is always raving over the best players in the NBA, FIFA, and other professional men’s sports associations, but what about female athletes who show as much dedication, skill, strategy, and fitness?  

Despite all the progress that has been made towards gender equality, women are not expected to be as successful as boys in athletics. I believe this happens because of the expectations put on women that stem from outdated social beliefs and views.

We see this in the level of pay, popularity, and respect that female athletes receive. Most of the time we expect women who play sports and are good at it, to be more masculine and lack the femininity that others may express.

Some families in some cultures don’t fully believe in female participation in sports, and this is a contributing factor to why many women in these cultures aren’t as healthy as their counterparts. According to the Womens Sports and Fitness Foundation,“Low levels of participation [in sports] inevitably have negative health implications, and the 2004 Health Survey confirmed greater levels of ill health were reported amongst ethnic minorities.” 

Sadly in many cultures, it is not appropriate for women to be participating in activities that put them in the limelight. Women are usually expected to be on the sidelines cheering and supporting the male figures in their lives, not to participate in something more aggressive like basketball or soccer.

Ratag Abdelmalik says, “Whatever a male player does, we have to do that times two to catch half of the attention he would.”

Although we may not see such blatantly sexist delineations of gender roles here, there are still subtle ways that people demonstrate their lingering bias and sexist beliefs in sports.

This includes the amount of attention, support, and respect that female athletes and athletics receive here at Lotus.

Ratag Abdelmalik, a basketball player, says, “Whatever a male player does, we have to do that times two to catch half of the attention he would.”

“We are expected to win but won’t get the same credit for our wins,” Layla Haji, who participates in many sports at Lotus, states.

When people say that “boys are more athletic than girls” or “ boys are naturally better at sports,” it perpetuates this misconception until it becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Girls start to internalize and believe that their performance is not as important or that they are not as athletic as boys are naturally which leads to a never ending cycle. 

There are many amazing female athletes who are doing their best to put an end to this kind of thinking, including some athletes at Lotus!

Amana Malki is one such athlete who is breaking down barriers. She became the first female flag football player at Lotus–preserving as the only female for the entirety of a season and creating a chain reaction of other female students to join. 

Amana Malki is not only a basketball player, but also the first female athlete to join the flag football team at Lotus.

Miss Malki joined the team during her eighth-grade year as the only female. During this time she received a lot of criticism and snide comments from the other male players. Despite all this, Malki was one of the most hardworking and athletic people on the team. This year the flag football team had even younger female athletes joining the team, and together they brought home the championship trophy.

Times are changing, and with it, women are working to create a platform where being successful is the norm. Help us create one in our own community, by supporting all athletics, including the girls’ basketball upcoming season. Games are posted on the store door with the time and place. Please be sure to come and support them throughout the season.