Why are girls invisible

Is it because women lack ambition? Or is it a case of they being bad at sports? We all know that the answers to both these questions is an emphatic ‘No’.
We see some women doing really well at sports: Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, P T Usha. However, it is only in some sports — basketball, badminton, tennis, athletics — that we see some competition from Indian women, but even in these so-called ‘feminine’ sports, participation is not as much as it should be. As for other games such as cricket, football and the like, it is almost negligible.

There is absolutely no scope for a girl to perform in these sports and I know, from experience, that to find a place in Bangalore that agrees to coach girls in one of these areas is one of the hardest tasks you will ever have to undertake. So what does a girl, who wants to play cricket, do? Either be pushed into playing, say, badminton, or be forced to play cricket with boys, half her age. Thus, this lack of facilities and encouragement are some of the major reasons for the invisibility of girls in sports.
Also, quite unfortunately, schools are largely responsible for practically discouraging talent. Being an ardent cricket as well as football lover and player, I have found that schools do not encourage girls with talent and interest in these sports. We hear about women performing brilliantly in all areas of sports in the West, also in China. An example of this is shown by the fact that China outplayed even the US in the Olympics. So what is it that keeps us from helping our girls to do well?

Traditionally, keeping women from participation in physical activity was a form of oppression. This tradition of oppression, not only in sports, but also in other areas continued over the years. Recently, however, it has abated. The education of girls is one of the major policies of the Union government. But our policy-makers and educators should realise that equally important is physical activity, which is one of the indicators of the health of a nation.

Thus, promoting greater participation of women in sports would not only bring us that many more medals and awards, but I believe that it is also closely linked with the liberation of women. I feel that the primary responsibility for the initiative to bring girls into sports lies with schools, which must provide and encourage sports for girls, especially those who are really interested, failing which this enormous waste of talent will continue.

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