Show the competitive side of the sport especially for women matching athletes

Presenting how women-matching athletes play sports helps break stereotypes and allows young women matching athletes to approach these  sports. Stereotypically, competitiveness has always been considered a masculine feature. 

Indeed, the framework of winning and losing belongs in some way to the idea of toxic masculinity when it comes to humiliating the opponent. In  this manual, you can find some tools to deconstruct this idea of competitiveness as humiliation and maybe rethink competition and the social  phenomena surrounding it. 

Thus, considering an idea of competitiveness based on fair play, respect, and acknowledgement of others, how can we push women athletes to  pursue a competitive attitude in Ultimate and make them understand they can enjoy something more than just for fun? 

The socialisation of women: competition 

Women are socialised to be and are perceived as less competitive than men. The reasons for and symptoms of this socialisation are as follows:

  • Gender differences in mental attitudes and dispositions—especially risk preferences and competitive orientations—have been identified as  possible reasons to explain differences in the behaviour of men and women. 
  • Competition, competitiveness and aggression are all social characteristics associated with the masculine identity, thereby making them the  antithesis of the feminine identity. 
  • As shown in a study into how gender and competition intersect, average women are less likely to describe themselves as competitive and less  willing to enter a competition.
  • There may be historical, deep-rooted biases, too. Past research has pointed to evolutionary pressures, the domestic roles that women have traditionally played, and the patriarchal social order.  These accounts suggest that men are more competitive because the payoffs of competition are higher for them. Other accounts have linked the gender difference in competitiveness to men’s higher confidence levels: Women shy away from competition  because they’re less likely to think they’ll win. 

How can we tackle this bias? 

  • Show women matching athletes as role models in action (highlight reels, social media posts, celebratory shout-outs) 
  • Support women-matching athletes in achieving their goals. This may include offering to help identify their goal and encourage them to push  themselves. 
  • Treat women-matching athletes as high-level ultimate players. 
  • Do not minimise the workload any women-matching athlete puts into their athletic performance or achievements on and off the pitch. Consider this aspect in your media and communication strategy and how your public presentation of women-matching athletes reflects your club/association. 
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