Rio Olympic: Empowering Women in Sports

Aug 24, 2016 09:06 IST

In last few years, the subject of women empowerment has captivated the interest of the people all over the world and especially in India. The very fact behind this hype regarding empowerment of women is that the discussion bears testimony to the deplorable condition of women all over the world but more so in India and other developing countries.

In the past, women were treated as mere slaves. They were denied basic fundamental rights like Right to freedom, Right to Education, etc. There were wide inequalities between men and women in any and every field be it politics, sports, education or corporate level. Today as well, even when there are examples like Indira Gandhi, PT Usha or Kalpana Chawla, the perception about women remains that they are incapable, which act as a huge barrier when it comes to making a choice of what they aspire to be.

Today, women constitute more than 50 percent of the world's population, undertake most of the work but receive less income in comparison with the men.  In addition to their domestic responsibilities like taking care of their child, cooking food, looking after the family; women are also contributing to the growth of nation as well. Some have become successful entrepreneurs, some are handling the politics of the nation, some are running the fashion world and some are representing the country at international level by playing various sports.

They have been successful in demanding the equality with men in matters of education, employment, inheritance, marriage, politics and in the field of sports as well. The position and status of women all over the world and in India has risen exceptionally in the 20th century. Women, who remained inclined within the four walls of their household, have today found out their own way-out to beat out men in every respect.

A long struggle has brought women the property rights, the voting rights, an equality before the law in matters of marriage and employment. Various steps have been taken by the Indian Government to empower women of every age and every caste. Criminal laws against sati, dowry, female infanticide and foeticide, eve teasing, rape, immoral trafficking and other offences relating to women have been enacted in addition to civil laws like the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939, the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and other Matrimonial enactments.

A National Commission for Women (NCW) was also constituted for the same. The year 2001 was declared as the Women Empowerment Year by the Government of India. Moreover, the 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill had been a highlight in the past few years. This legislation, popularly known as the Women's Reservation Bill, seeks to reserve one-third of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies.

Women empowerment really has the power to change many things in the society and country. They are quick to deal with the crucial problems in the society. They are fully able to handle the economic conditions of the family and country.

And with these developments in the status of women, it came out right that empowering women means empowering the nation, strengthening the economy and revitalizing the society.

Role of Sports in Women Empowerment

Social stigmas often cause dejection in women from viewing themselves as physically powerful, proficient and self-governing individuals. In recent years, sports has surfaced as a mechanism to help women work against these self-limiting opinions. With the growing participation of women in sports globally and nationally, sports is being seen as a means of empowerment for women. Their participation in sporting activities enable them to live a life of dignity.

Call them the women of substance or beacons of hope, these strong sports contenders are capable enough in turning the heads back. Female athletes like PT Usha and Ashwini Nachappa have really resurged athletics in India.

New age sportswomen like Sania Mirza in Tennis, Mary Kom in Boxing and Saina Nehwal in Badminton are the few Indian women who never gave up on their dreams despite of coming from conservative backgrounds. This empowerment has helped women in dealing with crisis and emergency situations and manage things on their own without the compulsory male support.

Indian Women in Rio Olympics 2016: P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar
The 2016 Summer Olympics concluded in August 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, witnessed more than 11000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees. A total of 117 athletes participated from India. India bagged a total of two medals, one silver and one bronze; both the medals won by women in their respective games.

Badminton player P V Sindhu won historic silver medal in women’s singles badminton event. With this, she became the first Indian woman to clinch a silver medal in Olympics. On the other hand, Wrestler Sakshi Malik secured a bronze in the 58 kg category to become India's first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal.

Not to forget, India was able to qualify one artistic gymnast into the Olympic competition for the first time since 1964. Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian female ever to book an Olympic spot in the apparatus events and all-around event at the Olympic Test Event. Unfortunately, she narrowly missed out in the bronze medal, finishing 4th in the finals of the event with a score of 15.066.

Moreover, Indian long distance runner Lalita Babar scored a time of 9:19.76 in her heat, qualifying to the final. With this, she became the first Indian in 32 years to enter a final in any track event. At the final, she finished 10th with a time of 9:22.74.

Despite the fact that these all sportswomen belonged from families with low income, still they managed to gather all their confidence and achieve what they aspire to be. This empowerment of women by encouraging them to participate in sports has opened up many new and exciting avenues for them in the world of sports.

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