Its big news that Women’s National Basketball Association star Becky Hammon has been hired as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.
This appointment makes Hammon the first paid female coach in NBA regular season history.
While this news is promising for the future of women in sports, there is ample reason to believe that not much will change in this sphere.
There is plenty of evidence to support this.
A perfect example of that would easily be FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s recent statement. When asked why more women weren't in FIFA, his response was simple: "Football is very macho," he said. "It's so difficult to accept [women] in the game. Not playing the game, but in the governance.”
In case that wasn’t clear to you; he explains further: "It's easy in basketball, it's easy in volleyball, it's easy in athletics. It is no problem. But in football, I don't know. There's something very reluctant.”
He is not alone.
Former soccer player Andy Gray may be remembered by some for his incredibly sexist comment, "Female linesman ... they probably don't know the offside rule," he said in 2011. "Why is there a female linesman? Somebody's f**ked up big," he went on to add.
In 1994 Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson declined a female trainee physiotherapist’s request for a work placement with his team saying, “most of the players felt that football was very much a male sport, and did not really like the thought of females being involved with the treating of sports injuries within the training complex.”
In 2013 things apparently hadn’t improved very much when Sir Alex Ferguson wished his club’s media manager, Karen Shotbolt a Happy International Women’s Day. Ferguson added, “She’s dragged herself out of the kitchen.” The journalists who were gathered received his distasteful remark with guffaws.
Lest one thinks its only soccer that is suffering from gender discrimination; here are some other instances from the recent past.
Following the 2013 Ladies Wimbledon Singles Final between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki, BBC presenter John Inversdale asked his listeners:
“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘you’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight?’”
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was ejected from a game in Feb 2013 for telling a referee to stop "acting like a f---ing female." His crime- he cursed.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient, one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs, believes, “Male-only golf clubs are ‘for some people a way of life that they rather like.’
“For some people, it is a way of life they rather like. I don’t think they are intending to do others down. You can dress it up to be a lot more if you want,” he added.
‘We do believe that membership policy is a matter for clubs. And it will take a lot to push us off that position. We happen to believe that very strongly.’
The truth is stark and simple- gender discrimination is rampant in the world of sports. From inequality in pay and training facilities, sexist comments and harassment, women’s abilities are routinely questioned. Further, female sport fans are not taken seriously by their male counterparts, or even competent sports reporters and journalists.
Women are made to feel the world of sports is just not for them.