Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can Women Compete with Men?

A reader sent me on a link to a Runner's World story. The writer is an Ultrarunner (those insanely fit people who consider 50kms as their minimum distance) and she's noticed that many of the top finishers are female.

It's an unusual sport in that the male and female runners compete directly against each other so it's easy to measure who is doing well. The article itself is short - you can read it here "Why Women Rule Ultrarunning" but it's an interesting idea. Usually the idea of men and women directly competing brings up thoughts of fairground freakshows - as in men and women boxing. But it seems there are some sports where women's physiological makeup lends itself to success.

Do you think men are better than women at some sports? Or women than men? 


Anonymous said...

I read that article also and I was quite annoyed by the title, since clearly women don't dominate ultra running, they win "some" races. False praise is quite patronising.

What is better anyway? If men score more points or be faster is that better ? How about who is more entertaining to watch? Does the sport has more complexity or character depending on whether men or women are playing it?

For instance many mens sports are decided by brute force, whereas some women's are decided by tactics and teamwork and in that way they are better at the sport.

Equestrian sports is one area people tend to forget though, men and women always compete equally there and I think it's the only Olympic sports where men and women compete directly as individuals not as a pair.

niamh said...

Equistrian sports are a good place to look at how we deal with winning and losing - plus having a great horse helps too. Good questions on what is better; I think it depends on how long someone has been doing a sport - greater experience therefore greater skill which has nothing to do with gender. Maybe soccer is a good sport to use as a gender comparison as brute strength is less important than skill. To my untrained eye, the male world cup and the female seemed the same..