Women in sports have always had a positive impact on how the world views certain things and judging by how some of them are performing in the athletic space, young girls in the world have now booked themselves a career in the world of sports from overlooked duties such as refereeing or in male-dominated spaces such as sports broadcasting. Not so long ago being involved in sports as a woman seemed sexual orientated or abnormal to say the least. If it weren’t for the persistence of “girl power” the topic you’re about to explore wouldn’t have been made possible. I am glad to say that today we will be looking at five women who have been excelling in the “field” of sports both literally and figuratively.
South Africa has been a country that is very much active in the supporting of women in sports I am not only saying this because the women we are going to be starting with are South African’s but also because the countries women’s football national team boasts three consecutive COSAFA tournaments and the SAFA SASOL Women’s League has been on everybody’s lips since it kicked off mid-August last year. Refiloe Jane is a 27-year-old midfielder who has made more than 100 appearances for the Banyana Banyana squad. The Kliptown born young lady is currently signed with European giant AC Milan playing in the Series A Women’s league. Not only is she Banyana Banyana’s vice-captain she also scored their winning goal against Cameroon in last year’s COSAFA Cup. As a teenager Refiloe made a huge statement in the Future Champions Tournament when she won a competition where 1000 other kids of both genders were participating which lead to her getting the opportunity to train with England’s top teams namely Manchester City and Everton. When she returned to South African she told the city press that she was going to work hard until she gets a chance to play overseas. Not only did she achieve her dream she still has the passion and drive too that helped her do so today.
Megan Rapinoe is an American professional footballer who captains the United States women’s national team and Reign FC playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). In 2019 she played a crucial role as a winger in a squad that managed to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup twice considering the one they also won in 2015. Prior to that they were runner ups in 2011 and she won gold at the 2012 Summer London Olympics. Today she holds the Ballon d’Or feminine and she was named FIFA’s Best Women’s Player in 2019 furthermore she was rewarded with the golden boot and the golden ball in 2019 Women’s World Cup. She takes part in numerous LGBTQI+ organisations and she have multiple sponsorships from high ranking companies such as Nike, Hulu and Samsung to name a few. You could also just remember her as that lady who beat every other man by scoring directly from the corner kick spot
Among every other sport tennis have always encouraged women to take part, it is a sport that is dominated by both males and females and records have been broken by both genders. This woman has not only been an inspiration to black women but every mother out there who puts family first have also been touched by this African American Beauty. Serena Jameka Williams is a 38-year-old woman who was born in Saginaw, Michigan. The former world’s number one has in her name “23” major singles titles which hasn’t been achieved by anyone else as yet whether male or female in the Open Era. This machine of a women has held the number one spot for “319” weeks and won the Grandest Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles which are “39” in total combined among active players which puts her in the 3rd place on the all-time list and the second in the Open Era. This woman was the highest paid female athlete in 2016 and 2017. Currently she is ranked 9th according to the WTA and 63 by Forbes highest paid athletes. More than anything it is safe to say that she is now an icon to many women aspiring to be like her and very tough competition to those who wish to surpass her.
This French woman goes against what the country is known for. One would expect to find the most romantic women in France not a strict female referee who was once given a responsibility to make the final decision in a football match between the two European giants namely Liverpool and Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup. Since 2011 Stephanie has been refereeing matches in the third division of men’s football in France. Her talents of analysing complicated scenarios and following football rules has landed her a refereeing duty in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2019 FIFA World Cup. She became the first female referee in 2014 for League 2 and it was also announced that she will be the first female referee in league 1. She officiated her first league 1 match in 2019 between AC Amiens and RC Strasbourg and lastly, she was also the football law itself between Northern Ireland and Linfield in the second leg of the inaugural Champions Cup where she showed 2 yellow cards. Stephanie told the Guardian: “girls see me on TV and know it’s possible”- girl power at its prime.
Sports broadcasting has been a field dominated by men such as Robert Marawa for Supersport and Thomas Mlambo for SABC Sports. It was considered normal to listen to a man with a very powerful voice breaking down the football action for you verbally either as a presenter or a commentator. Here is a woman who has perfected both job descriptions when no else thought she would. Carol Tshabalala is 38-year-old women who was born in the humble township of Soweto in Pimeville. After graduating high school at Krugersdorp High School, she secured a job as a sportscaster for SABC and from there onwards she never looked back. She is now a voice over artist for Supersport, a sports broadcaster, freelance reporter, live studio anchor and producer. In 2010 during the South African FIFA World Cup she was given a minor role in terms of coverage because Supersport as a channel didn’t have much faith in her. Today she is the first and only African to host the FIFA Ballon d’Or and the only African based presenter at the English Premier league sportscaster in 2016.To put it in simple terms, if you love South African Football you love Carol Tshabalala.
Women have certainly achieved a lot in the world of sports considering the short amount of time they have been given. Lower pay, less media coverage, ancient cultures and Religion have been an obstacle to women trying to make it in sports for a long time but most of them have excelled irrespective of the stated reasons. Many female athletes have engaged in peaceful protests such as social media campaigns and planning strikes trying to address the inequalities in Sports. Quite frankly whenever women are given an opportunity to show their superiority they always do.