More than half of Spanish women practice some sport

A 51.8% of Spanish women does some kind of sport. It is the first time that the five-year survey of sports habits prepared by the Statistics and Studies Division of the Ministry of Culture and Sports together with the Higher Sports Council (CSD) reflects that there are more women who exercise of those that don’t.

This data is a symptom of the will of more and more people to lead an active and healthier life, but it also reflects the empowerment that makes more and more women break into social spaces traditionally associated with men. Even so, there are still barriers and the gender gap is still 11.3%. Data that has barely decreased one point since 2015, when it was 12.3%. “More and more women understand as their own a privilege that until recently was understood only for men & rdquor ;, explains Martha Guerra, general health psychologist Claritas Institute.

“In part, the increase is due -beyond the time of the pandemic in which there were other reasons- to the influence of the policies that have been approved. There has been a kind of boom, especially in Catalonia, of the female sports practice& rdquor ;, explains the doctor Pedrona Serra, professor at INEFC Barcelona. This study is carried out every five years, but the 2020 study could not be done completely due to the pandemic. In addition, the confinement greatly changed the sporting habits and the concern for the physical and mental health of the majority of people.

Gender-biased sports

After the pandemic, they play sports in Spain around 6 out of 10 people, 57.3% of the population, a figure that represents 3.8% more than in 2015, but the activity continues to be stigmatized by gender. “We have empowered ourselves to where they have left us. In the type of sport preferred by men and women, the stereotype of gender& rdquor ;, says Dr. Serra.

The survey reveals that 66.7% of women choose individual sports, compared to 55.7% of men, and that 46.6% of them prefer directed activities, a modality that only 25.1% of men choose. Only 9.2% of female athletes participated in organized competitions, less than half that of men, who reached 22.3%. By sports, sports attract the male population much more to the fresh air such as soccer, cycling or paddle tennis, and bodybuilding and weightlifting; gymnastics, swimming and hiking, more for women, as well as activities behind closed doors and activities with music.

“Man has traditionally occupied the public space, hence the preference for outdoor sports. Likewise, the most competitive sport models are traditionally linked to men and the type of sport more linked to aesthetics to women. The corporalities They also lead to practicing one type of sport or another& rdquor ;, explains Raul Sanchez, professor of social sciences at INEFC Madrid. “It is important to break these stigmas and move towards the equality with confidence, knowing that men and women have the same right to enjoy the same sports even when the environment does not support the decision to practice certain activities,” adds Guerra.

“It is not only necessary to empower and explain to women that they can do any type of sport. Men must also be invited to practice dancing, directed activities or other disciplines that are not considered ‘masculine’& rdquor;, explains Dr. Serra.

the motive matters

More women do it for keeping fit, for reasons of Health or to relax, but there are more men who do it simply for pleasure or fun, because they like to compete or as a way of personal growth. A trend that fades as the respondents are younger.

“Society requires us to be young and slender women all our lives and sport becomes a tool to achieve it, it is pure social pressure and that also leads you to practice a series of sports that allow you meet these social demands. But more and more young women enjoy the sport itself and opt for sports that they like regardless of the roles& rdquor ;, explains Dr. Serra. This process of changing mentality is closely linked to the sports culture that is instilled in the childhood.

“Hence the debate that currently exists with the spaces of the schoolyard. Tradition has made the kids play soccer and the girls are cornered in other spaces. Reversing this type of trend will make it easier for women to conquer a space such as practicing sports,” explains Sánchez.

Age, a brake on exercise

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The same study makes it clear that the older, the less activity. According to the data, from 15 to 19 years of age, 84.4% of the population declare having done sports in the last year, a percentage that decreases to a minimum of 16.2% from the age of 75 and in these data a difference is appreciated between men and women, being them the ones who practice the most sports in the elderly.

“It should be noted that as we get older, women continue to exercise but men don’t. The male sports culture is one of practicing impact, federated or explosive sports and that is incompatible with the elderly and, on the other hand, women continue to be far below the male figures in federations& rdquor;, reasons Dr. Serra. On the other hand, in the case of women there is a smaller decrease in sports practice in the age group typically related to the maternity. “It seems that there is social pressure to recover the body from before being a mother and that also affects sports practice,” explains Dr. Serra.

Source of data and images: elperiodico

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