Challenging gender stereotypes through sport

31 Jul, 2020 - 00:07 0 Views
Challenging gender stereotypes through sport Tanyaradzwa Muzinda

B-Metro

Hazel Marimbiza
Due to the fact that sport is still largely considered a male domain, women’s participation automatically challenges gender stereotypes — confronting traditional scripts of “a woman’s place”.

The sports field is a place where values such as competition and assertiveness are respected. When a woman starts to occupy a space formerly reserved for men, her sense of what is within her capabilities is strengthened. Likewise, when community members see women and girls competing and performing, there is an opportunity for them to question the underlying assumptions of strict gender codes.

Although the participation of women and girls in sport remains largely imbalanced when compared to participation among men and boys in Zimbabwe, most researchers are in agreement that the consistent and continued participation of women and girls in sport has had a major impact on achieving gender equality in certain contexts.

Comparing traditional female gender stereotypes with those of the 21st century, it is clear that female athletes are beginning to establish themselves in the sports world. Their ability to challenge sexist barriers and restrictive notions about women’s physical appearance, athletic ability, and participation in sports, is evident through their increased involvement in sports.

Speaking to B-Metro about gender discrimination, Tanyaradzwa Muzinda, 15, the youngest female motocross champion in Southern Africa, talked about her challenges in pursuing her sport.

“As a young girl, I faced a lot of gender discrimination. Motocross is largely considered a boys’ sport and the girls who ride in Africa are countable. The female riders in Europe are a lot more compared to Africa, but of course, I would still meet some people who would say that I don’t belong on the motocross track. Those statements encouraged me to push myself to the maximum to show society that my gender doesn’t matter,” said Muzinda.

Research indicates that for women, an early acquaintance with motor sport is essential in order to overcome the gender stereotypes surrounding it.

“I first got involved when I was five years old. My father’s friend invited us to the motocross track to see if I was interested. When we got to the track, he was shocked to see that I was a girl but he still gave me the opportunity to ride. I got on the bike, rode a few times, and fell. After that l told my parents I didn’t want to go back because I was too scared but luckily they gave me words of encouragement and I got back on the bike. Ever since I’ve never wanted to get off the bike,” said Muzinda.

Muzinda now resides in Florida, United States. She has raced in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Belgium, England, and the United States. She now aspires to show other girls that anything is possible.

“It feels really great to have such a big and amazing title. Never in a million years would l have thought that motocross would lead to this. I aim to make other girls believe they can achieve anything. I’d also like to bring other females into the sport because I don’t want to be the only one. I believe that so many girls can achieve this as well,” said Muzinda.

She highlighted that she owed her success partly to her mentor.

“My manager and mentor, Stefy Bau, inspired my journey of showing girls out there that the sky is the only limit. She started racing at the young age of six in Italy in her home town. She won seven Italian National Championships, five US National Championships and three

Women World Championships. Meeting her really changed my career path and I will forever be grateful,” said Muzinda.

The 15-year-old also urged parents to help fight stereotypes and ensure girls get the opportunity to do whatever they desire in life.

“I see young girls not getting attention from their parents or the world because of their gender. I want to change that. I want to show people that it should never matter. A child is a child and should never get different treatment because they are a girl or boy.

“I’m grateful because my parents have played a big role in my career, I wouldn’t be here without them. They have supported me throughout my whole journey and have made big sacrifices to make sure I’m always on the motocross track,” said Muzinda.

She had words of advice for girls who want to pursue sport in Zimbabwe: “Everything takes time, sacrifice, and determination. The road is not easy, not everyone wishes the best for you so you should always pray and ask for guidance. It will all be worth it in the end. When you finally become successful always remember where you came from.”

In the next five years, Muzinda envisions herself winning the women world championship and being the first black African to win a motocross championship. This has been her dream since she was nine years old and she knows that with hard work and determination she will fulfill her dream.

Muzinda has also proved that women’s involvement in sport can make a significant contribution to public life and community development.

So far, she has adopted an orphan and paid school fees for 100 children in Harare. Her goal is to pay school fees for 500 children in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

 

 

 

 

“I see young girls not getting attention from their parents or the world because of their gender. I want to change that. I want to show people that it should never matter. A child is a child and should never get different treatment because they are a girl or boy.
“I’m grateful because my parents have played a big role in my career, I wouldn’t be here without them. They have supported me throughout my whole journey and have made big sacrifices to make sure I’m always on the motocross track,” said Muzinda.
She had words of advice for girls who want to pursue sport in Zimbabwe: “Everything takes time, sacrifice, and determination. The road is not easy, not everyone wishes the best for you so you should always pray and ask for guidance. It will all be worth it in the end. When you finally become successful always remember where you came from.”
In the next five years, Muzinda envisions herself winning the women world championship and being the first black African to win a motocross championship. This has been her dream since she was nine years old and she knows that with hard work and determination she will fulfill her dream.
Muzinda has also proved that women’s involvement in sport can make a significant contribution to public life and community development.
So far, she has adopted an orphan and paid school fees for 100 children in Harare. Her goal is to pay school fees for 500 children in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

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