These biological differences explain the male and female secondary sex characteristics which develop during puberty and have lifelong effects, including those most important for success in sport: categorically different strength, speed, and endurance. There is no other physical, cultural, or socioeconomic trait as important as testes for sports purposes.
Our data are drawn from the International Association of Athletics Federations IAAF website which provides complete, worldwide results for individuals and events, including on an annual and an all-time basis. We have limited the analysis to those events where a direct performance comparison could be made. For instance, we included the meters because both males and females compete over exactly the same distance; but we excluded the shot put because males and females use a differently weighted shot.
TABLE 2 compares the number of men - males over 18 - whose results in each event in would have ranked them above the very best elite woman that year. The differential increases significantly here, often by a factor of Not only did hundreds and thousands of males outperform the best results of the elite females, they did so thousands and tens of thousands of times.
These data and comparisons explain why competitive sport has traditionally separated biological males people with male bodies from biological females people with female bodies , and also why legal measures like Title IX in the United States require institutions to set aside and protect separate and equal funding, facilities, and opportunities for women and girls.
As a result, the conversation includes four general categories of policy options:. Our goal in developing and presenting the data and comparisons in TABLES 1- 4 is to provide some of the facts necessary to evaluate these options and to help answer the overarching question: what would happen if we stopped classifying athletes on the basis of sex or else allowed exceptions to that rule? More specifically, we hope that the data and comparisons are useful as people think about the following questions:.
Should societies and sports governing authorities continue to be committed to equal sports events and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women? Are there good reasons to ensure that biological females people with female bodies are included and visible in competitive sport, and if so, does it matter how they are visible? For example, is it enough that they are given an opportunity to participate at some point in development sport, or is it important that they are competitive for the win so that we see them in championships and on the podium?
Should our priorities depend on the sporting context, for example, is or should the priority be different in elementary school, junior high school, high school, college, and professional sport? Ultimately, this is the most important question for sports policymakers in this period. Is it acceptable to include everyone but still to classify on the basis of sex, like we do already on the basis of weight in wrestling and boxing?
She had five sacks that season, according to her mom's stat-keeping. As an argument, men being better than women at playing sports seems to make sense. It can be seen through anecdotal evidence such as the above-described experience of managing a coed softball team. This is due to all sorts of testosterone, gland secretions, muscles in their upper body rather than fat deposits, and other variables awarded in the jackpot of life.
Someone sees that, and it's easy for them to come to the conclusion that boys are better at sports than girls. They see it as an inherent trait linked to genetics. To them, it's the same as men being unable to get pregnant and women never knowing the pain that comes with getting kicked in the balls. Females are as skilled at sports as males, but there's two distinct roadblocks standing in the way making it look as though that's not the case. Even though you hear it bandied about on playgrounds, high school gym classes, and frat houses, it doesn't make any sense.
No one, male or female, throws like a girl. They either throw like someone who has had ample instruction on how to properly throw, or like someone who has not. If you'll excuse me, that last passage was lifted from my piece about the Lingerie Football League, which proves the point about instruction versus inherent skills. Most of the quarterbacks in that league can throw further and more accuratel y than any men reading this could ever hope to. This disparity is what happens when a generation of parents give boys footballs and girls Barbie dolls for their first few years.
The difference is something that's been lessening with the institution of Title IX, girl-friendly youth instructional programs, and a new generation of parents who understand that boy does not equal blue and girl does not equal pink. But there's another, thornier bit of misogyny that may be impossible to untangle when it comes to the differences of the two sexes playing sports:.
Sports currently fall into two categories: male sports, and females playing sports designed for me. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, poker, NASCAR, and anything else you can think of were created during a time when women were expected to be at home preparing dinner and taking care of the six children while the men were out trying to get their balls into another team's holes. Maybe think about it like this: Way back in the day, when James Naismith invented the game of basketball, what if instead of making the height of the baskets 10 feet, he decided to make them 8 feet?
In this alternate reality, your favorite team's roster would be composed of entirely different players. Gone would be the crazy high jumpers or 7-foot plus monsters, because height and flight would no longer be as important of an asset. In their place would be… Well, I don't even know. No one really does. I imagine thy would be more muscular and compact athletes, like a rugby players.
The fact is, the average height of an NBA player would no longer be nearly a foot higher than the average male because that kind of height wouldn't be necessary. Height would still assist, as it does in just about every competition this side of horseracing, but it wouldn't dominate the proceedings.
This is a more extreme argument but similar to the one we heard in years past with the McEnroe headlines. John McEnroe was a great tennis player in his day, the winner of multiple Majors. Williams was the number one player in the world when she took a leave of absence to have a baby.
What McEnroe said was correct. He was demanded an apology for contrived sexism. Somehow now truth has become sexism. Of course not. If Serena Williams went and played random men, she would beat most of them, maybe all of them. Because she is a skilled, talented women at her sport. But that is also comparing apples to oranges. Or even, taking a professional level female tennis player against a collegiate tennis player. Both have the skills and knowledge of the same sport to accurately judge who is better.
We have discussed that issue pretty thoroughly at this post , so we will not here. But tennis, like basketball and other team sports are much harder to get objective comparisons. The easiest way to compare across gender is through sports that men and women compete with the same standards and are judged through time.
This removes most variables when we try to compare raw athletic ability. The best sport to do this is swimming. In swimming, men and women compete in the same pool that is the same distance 50 meters a length internationally, 25 yards a length domestically.
They do the same distances of events and the same strokes. Let us looks at how men and women in the same controls compare. The shortest event is the meter freestyle. The is a 13 percent difference. To compare, Sarah Sjorstrom, the fastest woman to ever swim the event would not even qualify for U. Olympic Trials with that time. The U. Trials standard time for men is In the Olympics Trials there were male swimmers in the Untied States that swim faster than a woman has ever swam the same event.
That is nearly a 5 second difference in time. Freestyle, in swimming is swum with the fastest stroke option of front crawl. The butterfly is the second fastest stroke. Michael Phelps holds that World Record in the meter butterfly with a time of Backstroke is the third fastest stroke because the event starts in the water and does not have the advantage of the block start the other strokes do. The fastest ever backstroke is Katie Ledecky is a phenom in the distance events.
She has broken decades old World Records and literally laps her competition. Her record in the freestyle is an impressive Almost a full minute separates the best man from the best woman. In the freestyle, again Katie Ledecky has an outstanding time of There are 16 seconds that separate her from her male counterpart in the freestyle.
Woman are clearly inferior to men in all aspects of swimming. By the time kids reach the age of 12 years old the difference in the yard events has grown to two seconds, favoring the boys. By 18 years old that divide has moved to 3 seconds. The fastest females yard freestylers rank in the middle of the pack to their male counterparts.
These differences find themselves in other sports as well. Running, another sport that takes out the variables tells a similar story. In the Mile , the women still have not crossed the barrier, a barrier passed by the men decades ago. There is 30 second difference in the mile between men and woman.
Does that mean that women will never beat the 4-minute mile , no. I hope and expect woman to continue to push themselves and strive to defeat those glass ceilings. Those figures are far from an anomaly — averages across both tours are comparable. And there is a case that women could be considered superior: Dana Finkelstein on the LPGA is ranked No1 in driving accuracy, hitting Looking at these stats alone, women are more accurate than men. What they lack in power, they make up for in finesse.
She is ridiculously good. What we should take offense to is when people think that women are not elite athletes simply because their bodies do not perform in the same way as those of their male counterparts. As a sportswriter, I hate differentiating between male and female athletes. But my case is that female athletes are just as exceptional as their male counterparts, but are skilled in ways that men are not. Accepting this and embracing this provides a foundation for women to continue to flourish in their sports.
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