This question is asked often when it comes to sports, but it is rarely answered. The thing is, men and women strive for equality but when it comes down to it, are men and women equal? In some sports, and in some areas, yes. But more could be done.
The Argument For
Take football for example. It’s the most popular sport on the planet, it pays incredibly well and the rules are increasingly being tightened to prevent foul play, so what’s so harmful about allowing men and women to play together? Men are not necessarily faster, or more agile than women (look at tennis’ Serena Williams, for example), and so physically, there really should be no reason to separate the sexes.
Of course, women can play football, and the female version of the sport is gaining in popularity all the time. There is one issue, though: women’s football still lags behind the men’s game in terms of viewership, and so women’s chances to succeed are limited – most have to hold down a part-time job alongside their sporting careers. It would be more than fair (and easier, if they played together) to give women exactly the same opportunities as men: the chance to get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds every week and have their faces plastered on billboards, with all the fame being a talented footballer in the public eye affords.
The Argument Against
In rugby, where four or five men aim to bring an attacker to ground with a strong tackle and those involved in the scrum experience head trauma to such an extent they end up with ‘cauliflower ears’, the argument to involve women is perhaps not such a convincing one. Of course, men and women are built differently and therefore on a rugby pitch, it might pain viewers to see men tackling women and vice versa in the same way they would attack someone of the same gender. There is the matter of having the same opportunities in life, the same chances to do well at something you love to do, but if you’re risking your body every time you go out on to the field of play, is it really worth it?
The general consensus might be that, in sports such as football and tennis, where contact is minimal, men and women should play together – but in the more physical sports such as rugby or wrestling, the two sexes should probably be kept apart. For now, at least.