Why Is There Always No Money For Sportswomen? By Cheryl Roberts

13 Feb

South African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - Copy


Admittedly, over the past 25 years of post-apartheid sport in South Africa, there have been developments to advance and improve girls and women’s participation in sport and several elite, world class and world/Olympic champion emerging. But women’s participation in sport remains massively underfunded with some occasional handouts of media and support appearing now and then, here and there.
Its always about there being ‘No Money’ to develop and grow women’s participation in sport. Yet, there’s money to support men’s participation in sport, especially in sports such as golf, football, cricket, and rugby. And in sports federations that struggle to get sponsorship and funding, it’s always the boys and men that get the bulk of the money to support them.
Men officials of the male-dominated sports of rugby, cricket, football and golf always blame it on sponsors and corporates, saying stuff like ‘corporates don’t want to sponsor women’s sports’.
If it’s the corporates we are blaming for strangling women’s development and advancement in sport, then why are sports federations having business relationships with corporates who refuse to sponsor and assist the very women who are consumers of their products and supporters of their businesses.
But it’s not only the men but also women, who buy products of the mobile networks that are MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell C. Yet these networks ignore women in sport and sportswomen.
Get this! Corporates are kept in business and make profits from women consumers. However, corporates are responsible for the gender funding/sponsorship inequalities prevailing in sport. Some corporates do associate with women’s sport and sponsor women in sport. But this is just a few of them.
Why are most other corporates, especially the mobile network companies not giving back to the very women consumers who reap profits for them?
As I ask these questions, I am reminded of the patriarchal -supporting existence of corporates who still thrive on a patriarchal, male-power, male-dominant society, who continue to prop up gender inequalities by relying on their patriarchal supporting behaviour. And this patriarchal support impacts on corporates’ funding relationships because patriarchal supporting corporates still believe it’s the men in sport who must be dominant even though they are mediocre and male.
Why do corporates get away with their non-support of women in sport? It’s because the mostly male controlled sports federations don’t speak out and women in sport haven’t organised their activism to challenge and call out corporates.
And then there’s the men and few women officials who negotiate the sports sponsorships with corporates and who actually do so from a position of both being patriarchal supporting with the sports federations always looking for a corporate to firstly back a men’s event.
It’s always about the men’s participation in sport with the women sometimes getting a look in now and then.
South Africa’s sportswomen struggle to play at elite levels and compete as internationals. That some sportswomen have, over the past 25 years become world class, continental, world and Olympic champions is a testimony to their resilience to struggle and beating the odds against them.
It’s only when some sportswomen have achieved at the very top of world sport that some corporates react with some sort of a sponsorship relationship. But why must South Africa’s sportswomen struggle, struggle, struggle when they help grow businesses and make profits for corporates?
Women in sport, non-patriarchal supporting sports fans and sportswomen have got to become activists and challenge corporates and their male-dominated sports federations to disrupt their patriarchal-supporting behaviours and preference of male dominant sports events. There’s now ways we want to go for another 25 years whining about the raw deals given to women in sport and sportswomen.

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