We all follow men’s sports, cricket in particular, with baited breath and some of us lie awake at night in mourning when our favourite team of lads loses a match or two. Men’s sports are exciting, and we all enjoy watching athletes perform in peak condition; it’s entertainment, and it is also vicarious living. Through them, we can see and almost feel what life is like as a sportsman in his top level of fitness, performing tasks we mere mortals could never do in our regular, everyday lives. However, whenever women’s sports are mentioned, with cricket in particular, the response, devastatingly, is usually a sneer.
Why do we do this to our female athletes who deserve to be celebrated rather than mocked, or worse, ignored? One can suspect that even though we in modern times like to think of ourselves as being egalitarian, we still harbour shameful 19th century prejudices about women. Because of this thinking, most of us do not take women or women’s sports seriously. Many of us think that women only play sports for a bit of fun and are not professional in their attitude; that women are physically weaker and not athletic therefore not entertaining. Some of us even think that women do not belong in sport at all, as exercise goes against some religious ideals and that women have more important work to do around the home, such as raising children and keeping house and should not focus on physical fitness in any way.