Stop Proposing Different Rules for Women in Sport and Start Treating Them Like the Badasses They Are

England head coach Simon Middleton recently expressed the belief that women should be able to take their kicks closer to the uprights because rugby is an “unfair game for female kickers”. It is astonishing and offensive that the head coach of the first-ranked women’s rugby team in the world has suggested this. This proposal along with any suggestion that women should play on a smaller field or with a different size ball are rooted in the stereotype that women are not as capable as men in sports and are examples of the patriarchy and misogyny that exist in sports today.

As professionalism continues to gather pace in women’s rugby, the gap between men’s and women’s rugby is slowly closing. This is evident in the increasing skill levels, the growing number of high-quality players, and the increasing sponsorship and media coverage of women’s rugby.

What women rugby players need is not to be treated as inferior to their male counterparts, but rather to be given the same opportunities and resources as men to reach their full potential and contribute to the development of sports in general. By breaking down the barriers that prevent women from participating in sports, we can create a world where women’s sports are valued and celebrated just as much as men’s sports, and women athletes are judged on their athletic ability rather than their gender.

Stereotypes and tropes that suggest women cannot compete with men in sports are not only outdated but also damaging. Such beliefs perpetuate gender inequality in sports, which can lead to women being denied opportunities to showcase their skills, and can also lead to a lack of recognition for their achievements.

We must continue to reject these notions and recognize that women athletes are just as capable as their male counterparts. Women athletes are not inferior to men; they have the same drive, determination, and athleticism required to succeed in sports. Women have proven themselves in sports time and time again, breaking records and winning championships, and it’s important that we acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.

By rejecting these limiting beliefs, we can create a world where women’s sports are valued and celebrated as much as men’s sports. This would also pave the way for future generations of female athletes to follow in their footsteps, fostering a more inclusive and equitable sports culture.

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