Tennis has a big sexism problem, say women

Ace: Serena Williams is the most successful female tennis player of all time.

Is tennis sexist? Wimbledon, the greatest tennis tournament in the world, has begun. This year, however, the mood is serious. A few women have complained that female players are mistreated.

What’s happening

The grass is mown. The strawberries and cream are out. That’s right: Wimbledon is back. All eyes are on the brilliant player Serena Williams, who is making her comeback after giving birth. In fact, all women are in the spotlight this year, because of an argument about whether tennis is sexist.

Find out more

Wimbledon features both men and women, but it opens and closes with men’s matches. This shows that men are seen as more important, according to former champion Chris Evert. She says that women are still treated like “second-class citizens”.

Then there is the question of pay. Men and women now get the same prize money at all the Grand Slams. Yet women still earn less overall, as female-only tournaments pay less than male-only ones.

Meanwhile, Judy Murray (the mother of tennis superstar Andy Murray) has hinted at something darker in the tennis world. She says that many young female players get no emotional support, and some are even abused. She wants these players to speak out and bring the #MeToo movement to tennis.

Just how sexist is the sport?

Some say…

People are exaggerating. Wimbledon pays men and women the same. If women earn less overall, that is only fair, because they play shorter matches. Also, the men’s tour gets more viewers, and therefore makes more money for the sport. Of course, all abuse is awful — but it can happen anywhere, sadly. There is nothing particularly wrong with tennis.

Others think…

How offensive! Women play shorter matches because of their bodies. They work just as hard as men, and should earn the same. To show that it takes them seriously, Wimbledon should let them open and close the tournament every other year. Also, players — male and female — should say, loud and clear, that abuse is not OK. Only then will tennis be fair.

You Decide

  1. Should male players be blamed for getting more money than women?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are going to interview Serena Williams today. Come up with five questions for her.

Some People Say...

“If [Serena Williams] played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.”

John McEnroe

What do you think?

Word Watch

Second-class citizens
Groups of people who are discriminated against in society.
Grand Slams
The four most important tennis tournaments: Wimbledon, the French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open.
#MeToo
A global movement against sexual harassment and abuse, which began late last year.

Subjects

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