For many years, the tests carried out by automobile companies to verify the effectiveness of airbags were carried out with mannequins with male physiognomy. The result was that when there was a violent accident, the activation of the airbags It caused more severe damage to female drivers than to male drivers since they had been designed based on the characteristics of a male body and not a female one, which is generally shorter. The same has happened with the manufacturing process of many medications, or with heart attacks, whose diagnoses and subsequent treatments were designed on male budgets. This forgetfulness and invisibility of women, unconscious or deliberate, has been real and permanent over time, in all areas and in most social contexts.
This scenario has occurred with even more intensity in sport, generating gender biases that have meant that female participation has been structurally undervalued. Most sports were created on the basis of competitive physical skills and talents in which men stood out over women: power, endurance or speed, among others. Inevitably, women were going to be in inferior conditions compared to men in the main sports: football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, athletics… Therefore, female athletes continue to be systematically and historically discriminated against, suffering less attention from fans. , media, or receiving salaries and rewards much lower than those of men. And at a less known but no less painful level, when it comes to sharing sports facilities they have been relegated to having to train late at night or on the worst soccer fields or tracks.
This situation was mimicked in the field of sports management, where the data shows the underrepresentation of women in the governing bodies of sports federations and clubs. Thus, for example, a recent report by the Spanish Sports Association (ADESP) indicates that only 3% of women hold the position of federation presidents, 35% are part of the boards of directors, 28% of the various federative committees and 32% occupy the general secretary. And when it comes to refereeing and training tasks, only 24% of women are referees and 25% are coaches.
Lack of quotas and limits of power
This reality allows us to understand – not justify – some of the behavior of Luis Rubiales – who resigned this Sunday night as president of the Spanish Football Federation two and a half weeks after ensuring that he would not leave – as well as his subsequent reactions despising who criticized his abuse of authority by giving a non-consensual kiss to Jenni Hermoso. The same could be said of the widespread applause of the members of the General Assembly of the Royal Spanish Football Federation for the president’s speech in which he attacked feminism. It must be remembered that in that Assembly there were only six women and that in the various commissions that make up the RFEF it is not only that there are few women, but that they barely have a voice, much less a vote.
To give other examples, in the Catalan Football Federation, until recently there was only one woman among 31 members of the Board of Directors (currently, four). Therefore, there is not only a lack of quotas, but also of levels of power. If there are no women in command positions, the most logical thing is that men tend to see their sporadic presence as something anomalous that disturbs their masculine logic. And if you think and live in an environment with sexist stereotypes, you are more likely to reproduce sexist behavior.
Obsolete conception of masculinity
It is precisely these behaviors that are intended to be combated with gender perspective measures, since they are directed at the analysis of the different contexts from the perspective of social roles adopted by the participating individuals, in order to reveal the structural discrimination of women. For decades now, international organizations have been promoting training courses so that this perspective can be applied in companies and public and private organizations to reverse discrimination, stereotypes and sexist practices, even at the micro level.
The question is not only whether the sports federations carry them out – do they? – but it is necessary to question who they target and who they are forced to attend and how to measure the success of their proposals. Well, I fear that something similar will happen with the courses that the federations teach on the risks of match-fixing, which are taught only to the players, as if the managers who buy their will did not participate in the infraction.
You will be los Rubiales of Spanish football willing to attend this type of courses and, eventually, change their vision about the role of women in sport? Will the public powers, especially the CSD, dare to impose them seriously? Because it is probably the way to reorient them towards the social and moral schemes that are required in modern sport, unless they intend to remain bordered on an obsolete conception of sport and masculinity.
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