Women are more and more present in sport

The female presence in top-level sport is getting better and better, but it has come a long way. From the first edition of the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin and his friends did not imagine at all seeing women taking part in these first Games of the modern era.

“We must obviously remember the context of the time”, begins Gilles Goetghebuer. “He was not misogynist, but women were considered fragile. Back then, fashion or skin tone meant that they weren’t in great shape because of their lifestyle. And then, for Pierre de Coubertin, the woman was above all there to crown the winners. This awakens a little the notion of competition to reach the females as we could understand it in Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species (1859). “

Women have been slow to find their place at the Olympics.

As early as 1900, there were a few women, but the highlight was Amsterdam 1928, when a women’s 800m took place in the stadium. Playing sports like that was difficult, but there were female personalities who campaigned for women’s sport like the French Alice Milliat (1984-1957) who worked all her life for it. “

Now, if there is still work, women’s competitions are better considered.

“The key is competitions like the Grand Slams and the Games that work for parity. The day we see a men’s and women’s World Cup at the same time, we will have passed a new milestone.”

More and more girls in Belgium

What could be better than figures to show the greater involvement of girls in sport? In Belgium, the table below, which concerns the evolution of the fifteen sports most practiced in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation at the level of their affiliates, shows that women are more and more present. And no longer only among the “historically” predominantly female disciplines such as gym or horse riding. As of January 1, 2020, out of the 706,650 members identified in the sports federations recognized by Adeps in FWB, 219,221, or 31%, were women. In football, for example, their numbers keep increasing. In ten years, they have more than doubled: 5,697 in 2012, they exceeded the 13,000 mark at the ACFF before the pandemic. And if their proportion remains in the minority (football has gone from 4% girls in 2012 to 7% in 2020), they continue to gain ground. And the participation of the Red Flames in the next Euro 2022, this summer in England, will certainly boost football even more.

Belgian women’s sport has been able to count on beautiful engines to motivate girls. Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters boosted the tennis numbers, of course. Today Nafi Thiam in athletics or the Belgian Cats in basketball are vacuum cleaners with female sporting vocations … Hockey is getting closer to parity on the field. But, for ten years, many less media disciplines have seen their proportion of girls increase. Let us quote for example the triathlon, from 15 in 2009 to 23% in 2020; volleyball, from 42 to 57%; rugby, from 5 to 14%; baseball / softball, 23 to 31%; boxing, from 21 to 31%; weight lifting, 21 to 31%; taekwondo, 25 to 34%; or skiing (Alpine Club), from 25 to 34% …

Three concrete examples to promote female practice

  • Mom / child sport To meet the expectations and needs of young mothers, Adeps encourages its subsidized centers to organize, in particular, mother / child sports lessons as in Spa (until June) with sessions during which mothers can come and train with them. the baby. Outdoor training involves walking, jogging, physical exercises… The child can also be busy on his own.
  • I run for my “Girls only” form The initiative targets 13-17 year old girls and aims to reach 5 km, it is also associated with the jump rope. “In approaching their body, it is sometimes difficult for teenage girls to run with boys. This initiative makes it possible to do so with their girlfriends”, specifies Caroline Beguin, Deputy Director General of the General Administration of Sport. Sessions from spring in Floreffe, Seraing, Fléron and Sombreffe.
  • I run for my form 0-2 km Under the impetus of Adeps and in collaboration with the ASBL Sport Santé Event and Zatopek Magazine, the 0-2 km program, launched in Ixelles and Watermael-Boitsfort, should encourage people (including women as a priority target) to resume physical and / or sports activity for the purposes of health, well-being, social integration, whatever their age, through a gentle recovery after physical and psychometric tests.

We wish to give thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding material

Women are more and more present in sport