Why Is There No Money For South Africa’sWomen In Sport? By Cheryl Roberts

1 Jun


There’s no denying that gender inequalities exist in South African sport. There is general agreement that sport in South Africa mirrors our society’s patriarchal entrenchment, male-domination and male hegemony. Women in sport suffer because of men’s control of sport.

The imbalances, inequalities and discrimination have been spoken about, called out and protested against by various voices and writings about South African sport narratives. But why do women in sport and sportswomen continue to be victims of gender discrimination? Why are sportswomen made to struggle when gender discrimination doesn’t exist in South Africa’s constitution; a constitution existing to protect and look after South Africa’s people?IMG_0935

Professional leagues, allowing for sportswomen to play sport full-time and as career opportunities don’t exist in sport, yet they exist plentiful for men in sport. Women in sport and sportswomen are crying out for full-time, professional leagues which will allow and help women to concentrate on sport like their international counterparts and be accorded the same privilege as their men counterparts.

It’s always the same answer when professional leagues for sportswomen, are called for. ‘There is no money and there is no sponsor willing to buy into a professional league’, is the similar reply from men sports administrators. But why is there no money when women are consumers, buying from and supporting businesses and corporates?

There is a fundamental and conscious neglect of sportswomen advancement and development of women in sport in South African sport. If sports federations can develop sports boys and sportsmen, then why do they not also focus on the sportswomen? disgustingly, many sports federations look much better after sports boys and junior boys in sport than sportswomen!

Are the answers not blatant and obvious? Men in control of sport look after men’s interests in sport and give less attention to women in sport. Yes, there is development of girls in sport in sports federations but the girls are not sufficiently and adequately assisted and supported to international level.

In most sports in South Africa, sportsgirls and sportswomen simply don’t get enough domestic and international competition. There’s always not enough money to assist the sportswomen. When there is money allocated from government or LOTTO (SA sport’s major funders), then some sports have the audacity to focus on the boys and men whilst neglecting the girls and women.

South African sport gets away with this neglect of developing and advancing women in sport because there is no organised resistance and protest against gender discrimination. There is no power of sportswomen being shown, by the women in sport for the sportswomen! So the men controlling sport can deliver sport  thru their male lens knowing they can continue on this pathway without being brought down. Seemingly, sportswomen accept the handouts given to them here and there, now and then. But this is not so. Sportswomen are angry; they are also afraid to speak out in case they are victimised within their sports federation.

Sportswomen have had enough of this male control and domination of sport. Cricket has launched a global tournament, rugby is bidding to host a world cup and SASCOC found R100 million for a Commonwealth Games Bid process. So there is money and money can be found for sport. Why can’t money be found to advance women in sport?

It’s not that money doesn’t exist! It’s because preservation of male hegemony in sport in South Africa is pivotal to keeping men in control of sport, with women and sportswomen getting some attention here and there, but never getting the financial power they need.

If the men officials in sport really had the desire to disrupt male control and male privilege in South African sport, they would mount a fierce campaign against gender discrimination and inequality in South African sport. It’s because men’s interests and power are preserved and maintained, that men sports officials have little desire to disrupt and challenge a system of support that favours them incredibly.

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