1 in 5 Women Claim to Have Been Victim or Witnessed Sexism in Sport

A new study conducted by Skilled Golf has revealed that a whopping 1 in 5 women claims to have either been victim of or witnessed firsthand sexism in the world of sport.

  • The study anonymously surveyed 1,000 women across the US
  • 2.7% of women claimed to have suffered from gender discrimination personally
  • A further 9.8% of women claimed to have witnessed firsthand discrimination
  • 49.9% of respondents claim to have not witnessed anything, but generally agree that this does not indicate issues don’t exist.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of the question posed, an Opt-Out option was provided. A further 37.7% of respondents opted not to answer the question.
  • When adjusted for opt-outs, a total of 20% of respondents had either witnessed or been a victim of gender discrimination in sports

While I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most, despite recent strides in many sports, a large portion of women still feel that gender discrimination is rife across the US. With 1 in 5 respondents claiming to have either been witness to or victim of sexism in sports, it begs the question, are we doing enough?

In order to get a better issue of where the main issues lie, we decided to take a snapshot of some of the countries most popular sports to identify those which have the most problems.

  • We surveyed woman across the US from multiple states and backgrounds
  • The study is broken down into multiple age groups ranging from 18-24 right up to 64+
  • Women were presented with the question “Which of these sports do you feel is most discriminative towards women?
  • The study includes the top 5 most popular sports, including Soccer, Basketball, Golf and Tennis
  • Respondents were also given the opportunity to express that they don’t feel any of these top sports discriminate against women, and the results were weighted to exclude this in our study

Throughout the study we identified two key points:

  • While no sport is without its issues, Hockey has a shockingly clear lead according to most women as the most discriminative sport.
  • Golf presents a fascinating generational split. With the younger generation identifying it as a far more discriminative sport than the older generation.

Read on for our full analysis…

These are the most Misogynistic sports According to women

  • 45% of women consider Hockey the most discriminative sports towards women
  • This is trailed by Basketball at 23%, leaving a huge gap
  • Popular sports such as soccer and tennis fare much better but aren’t without their problems
  • Tennis comes bottom of the list with just 2%

Our study reveals a clear leader with Hockey taking the number 1 spot. From Pay Gap inequalities to harassment of both fans and players, the sport has a troubled history when it comes to gender neutrality.

The sport has been embroiled in a number of high profile controversies, with a large portion of them stemming from the perceived belief that the NHL refuses to take women’s contribution to the sport seriously.

While not as widely publicized as Hockey, women’s Basketball also has its fair share of issues. Perhaps one of the most contentious points amongst fans of the sport is the staggering pay gap, with a reported eye-watering 80% gap between genders in similar positions.

It’s important to understand that fans aren’t expecting complete parity – interest drives demand and this is fully understood. However, it’s agreed more must be done to try and bridge the gap.

Tennis comes bottom of our list, no doubt due to the prevalence of prominent figures such as the Williams sisters driving the charge for equality. It would be naïve to think the sport is completely free from misogyny, however. This can be perfectly summed up in this awkward exchange between Andy Murray and a misinformed reporter.

The Age Gap: Differing Opinions on Sexism in sports

  • Age brackets from 25-60+ follow the same pattern
  • The 18-24 age bracket have differing opinions on sexism in sport with a particular focus on Golf
  • Under 24’s believe Golf is one of the most misogynist sports
  • Despite other age groups placing Golf near the bottom

What’s fascinating in this study is the huge disparity between age gaps. The Younger 18-24 generation seemed to have completely differing opinions out of all of the age brackets represented in the study.

Surprisingly, Golf takes the top spot for 18-24-year-olds. As a traditionally “old boys” sport, this comes as little surprise to us. With just 20-25% (depending on the country) of all Golfers being female, it’s only in recent years that the sport has begun marketing itself as a girls sport.

Yet a quick Google search of “women in golf” tells us all we need to know – you’ll be presented with countless articles highlighting the “sexiest golfers” that focus little on the female achievement in the sport.

Elsewhere in our age group breakdown, we see little divergence from the status quo. Hockey typically comes on top, and Tennis comes at the bottom.


Skilled Golf Data Study Part 1 – Gender Discrimination [Results]
Skilled Golf Data Study Part 2 – Sports Analysis [Results]

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