Gender Equality in Sports

 Modern sports were initially conducted as a physical culture for men (gentlemen). In the modern Olympic Games, women’s participation was first officially recognised in archery at the 1904 St. Louis games (See Kimio Ito, ‘Sports and Gender’ in Shun Inoue and Yoshiaki Kamei (eds.), For Students of Sports Culture, 2001).

 When considering the issue of gender equality in sports, it is necessary to consider gender bias. Gender refers to socially and culturally formed sex differences or gender, and gender bias refers to discrimination and prejudice based on sex. (See Miyoko Tsujimura, ‘The Purpose and Issues of Gender Jurisprudence,’ in Outline Gender and Human Rights, 2021.)

 For example, the terms ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, and the phrases ‘masculine sports’ and ‘feminine sports’ are based on gender bias. As for the gender-role division of labour, which states that ‘husbands should work outside the home and wives should take care of the home’, according to the White Paper on Gender Equality formulated annually by the Cabinet Office, the percentage of both men and women who approve of this concept has been declining year by year. This gender-role division of labour is also at work in sports, and the phrases ‘masculine sports’ and ‘feminine sports’ can be seen as a manifestation of this.

 In the media, it is widely reported that the final of the National High School Girls’ Baseball Tournament was held at Koshien for the first time in August 2021. The Koshien Summer High School Baseball Tournament (National High School Baseball Championship) has a history of more than 100 years, and until now, women have not been allowed to participate as players. The fact that the first national baseball tournament for high school girls was held in Koshien is a sign of gender bias.

 The issue of gender equality in sports is also related to diversity, and we will continue to focus on this issue as a theme that will attract increasing attention in the future.