BBC report says under 30% of women in India engage in sports

According to the latest research by BBC, the statistics shows that approximately 75% of the Indian population believe sports is significant in their day-to-day lives. However, only 36% of the population engage in any sort of sport or physical activity. When these statistics are disintegrated, research reveals the following indications:

  • 42% of men and 29% of women engage in sports. 
  • Individuals in the age bracket of 15-24 actively engage in sports.
  • Percentage of the unmarried people play sports – 54%.
  • Percentage of married or divorced people play sports – 30%.
  • Percentage of the population not currently participating in sports or physical activities – 64%.
  • 69% of the respondents said they played sports during their school time or in their neighbourhood.

People’s point of view towards women in sports

The research indicated that 41% of the respondents felt sportswomen are on par with sportsmen. Although, 33% of the Indians surveyed are of the opinion that sportswomen are not on par with sportsmen.

A little more than 33% of the respondents included the following sports as not appropriate for women:

  • Boxing
  • Weightlifting 
  • Kabaddi
  • Motorsports

The reasons include 29% of the respondents feel women do not have the necessary strength to play sports, it is not safe for women to play and women cannot play sports during all times.  Santanu Chakrabarti, Head of Audience Research, BBC World Service states, “Our research shows attitudes towards women and women’s sports in India are complex, contradictory and counterintuitive. The research project – one of the biggest and most rigorous quantitative studies of its kind – shows that real progress has been made in terms of attitudes towards women and women’s sports yet some age-old stereotypes retain a hold on the imagination. It shows that the idea of gender equality has become quite commonplace among the Indian population, even if this doesn’t always match with other views held. Most fascinating are the differences across the states, where attitudes sometimes conform to but more often than not completely upturn what people may expect.”

Gender inequality in Cricket

According to the research, 15% of women play cricket compared to 25% of the men in India. The figures show that there is huge gender inequality in cricket. In kabaddi, there is less inequality, figures show 15% of men and 11% of women participate in the sport.

States with the highest participation rate

southern states of India, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have the highest participation rate in sports and physical activities with 54% and 53% respectively. However, in Punjab and Haryana hardly 15% population engage in sports.

Viewers of women’s sports

Regarding the viewership of female sports, just 34% of the population in India listen to news about female sports, and just 18% of the population have said they have watched female sports. For men’s sport, 24% have said that they watched it.

 The following figures are some more findings from the BBC research:

  • 42% of the individuals said they watched women playing sports for the first time in the second half of 2019. This shows that people recently started actively watching female sport.
  • People consume female sports from news channels, sports channels, and not from the internet.
  • Almost 50% of the nation believes that there is excessive reporting of female sport.
  • 57% of people who follow female sport believe that there was greater coverage of it in 2019 than in 2018.
  • The second season of Women’s T20 challenge (took place in 2019) professed to be the single greatest viewed female sports event in India. The tournament was established by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) in 2018.

Most well-known sports superstars

The research of the BBC indicated that 74% and 80% of the individuals could not name a single male and female athlete at an international level respectively. 18% of the respondents mentioned Sania Mirza among, an international tennis player with several grand slam doubles trophies. 21% of the respondents mentioned Sachin Tendulkar. 

Written Mohit Edupuganti

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