Ever been told you can’t participate because you are a girl? It’s an attitude that people can have without really thinking it through. It’s said simply because someone else told them that girls…can’t. The scary thing is it’s not just men telling women that they can’t achieve greatness in sports, it’s other women too.
It’s an automatic label that doesn’t seem to matter who the individual is, what their personality is like, even what their sporting ability is.
In this new decade it’s time to break away from limitations that have bound women in sport. The real issue isn’t about isolating girls and women from sporting activities and sporting success but isolating someone from being included, from being recognised as a person, from being able to express themselves through sport and competition. That applies to everyone, so while it’s part of the parcel, it’s much bigger than gender conflict.
When a young girl is told she can’t play a sport that looks like incredible fun, she can carry that idea with her the rest of her life.
It worries me because people are being withheld from their dreams, they are being shut off from sporting communities, or at least stalled if they are strong enough to shrug off the labels and go for it anyway. Part of the limitations that stop women from competing in sports dominated by men is that the labels are strong, and enforced at a young age, but also because role models are few. When you look around at sporting heroes, there are many more examples of men than women. That’s not to say that women can’t, it just says that often women choose not to.
We have the ability to make a new choice each and every single day for how we want to live the rest of our lives.
Here’s the thing, there are sporting heroes out there. In every sport imaginable women are making amazing movements, completing record breaking climbs, drawing huge crowds in AFL, winning Olympic medals. So let’s talk about them more, let’s celebrate them more, let’s make sure the world knows we are watching them, and loving them, so they can unlock barriers and move up to the level they deserve.
The late Kobe Bryant named three women who he felt were able to join the men’s NBA right now, and said there are dozens of other women who have the speed, skill and endurance to go head to head with men. So let’s let that happen. Let’s abolish the need for labels and just have people play sports.
If you love sport go for it. Keep pushing through and keep climbing up and surround yourself with other women athletes so you form a sporting community to be reckoned with. Every time you push through you carve a path for someone to follow.
We would love to get your comment on how you've been limited or how you've broken boundaries in the sporting world so you can inspire a generation of can doers.