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Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.
Virginie In Provence

My name is Axelle. I am born and I am living in Provence. I am assisting Virginie in the preparation of your immersions in Provence. Every day, we want to share with you the highlights of Provence.

Student and basketball player, making this article was very important to me, I wanted to share my vision of the sport, and to show you the different facets of women’s sport.


According to Pierre de Coubertin: “The Olympic Games must be reserved for men [...] a female Olympiad would be impractical, uninteresting, unsightly and incorrect.” Thanks, Pierre, for this "interesting" remark.

I think to recontextualize, it is important to know when women had access to sport. Kept away from sports practices, it was from May 1968 that in France, mixed education was authorized in EPS (physical and sports education).

It was not until 1928 that women were admitted to the Olympic Games, but only in 5 events: the 100 meters, the 800 meters, the high jump, the javelin and the 4 times 100 meters relay.

From now on, beyond being an issue for equality between men and women, women's sport has become for women an affirmation of their right to be able to participate in all sports.

Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.
Virginie In Provence with a bike

The media coverage of xwomen's sport

Let’s focus now on the appearance of women in the media...

In general, we notice that we are more likely to see sports with male teams in the media than sports with female teams.

In addition to team sports, we see that men's sports receive much more media coverage than women's sports.

I asked 5 people close to me to quote me female personalities in sport and to give me at least one important competition in women's sport.

Do you know which names stood out the most? They are: Wendie Renard, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Laure Manaudou, Isabelle Yacoubou, Gabby Williams…

In terms of important competitions, the following emerged: the Euro of basketball, the Olympic Games, the Women's Football World Cup.

Apart from the fact that the persons questioned were influenced by the sport they pratice, or by their preferences, the sportswomen who were cited are among the women with the most media coverage today in the whole world. We can see that it is often the same sports (football, basketball, and swimming…) and the same people who often come back.

According to "Figaro", in 2012 we see that the distribution of women's sport on screens amounts to only 7%.

Still according to the "Figaro", women's sport accounted for only 20% of screen broadcasts in 2021.

Between 2017 and 2022, we note that the top 20 women's competitions with the best audiences are made up of 14 football matches, 3 rugby matches and 3 handball matches, with audiences of 2.2 to 10.7 million viewers.

To overcome these inequalities between men and women in the world of sport, 89 sports federations have adopted a feminization plan. A law for parity in sports institutions was passed in early 2022. It will be applicable from 2024. This law aims to improve the place of women in sports institutions.

Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.
The media

The sport where women perform

According to the newspaper “L'Equipe”, the 5 sports most practiced by women are: walking and hiking (with 57%), swimming (with 37%), then fitness (with 28%), running (with 23%) and finally racket sports (with 18%). We see that women have a more pronounced inclination for individual sports rather than for team sports.

How to explain this? I would personally say that it has to do with the desire to develop personally and evolve on your own.

I will also add that team sports require a common organization that few women can manage because of their busy schedule.

Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.
Women’s soccer team


As a basketball player and having played at a “high level” (national 2), I will give you my opinion and my vision of the sport.

I started basketball at the age of 13. At first it was a discovery, my mother said that I wouldn't last more than 3 months, since I couldn't bear to be “screamed at”… Long story.

Over the years, my mother understood that it was not just a discovery, a hobby, and that this sport was made for me. With the right team, the right coaches, great things are possible… I entered sports studies 2 years after starting basketball, and everything went very quickly.

When you start to befriend a group, everything becomes stronger, each defeat, each victory… a bond is created and a family is formed. I would say that basketball allowed me to develop myself personally by helping me to work on my shyness or even on my mental strength. Above all, sport has allowed me to develop and forge myself as a person.

We learn, we build, we share. Sport elevates and reveals the person you are. By practicing sport, we meet new people, we create a way of life. Professionals base their life around sport, and even make sport their life. Food, pace of life, acquaintances, you have to make concessions... but after all, for every important thing a sacrifice is necessary...

Women and sports! When the world of sport opened its arms to women.
Basketball hoop

Women sport in Provence

As far as women's sport in Provence is concerned, it is as publicized as women's sport in general. I'll talk to you basket. This weekend is a big Derby in the South of France.

It is one of the most anticipated meetings of this year. This is the return match: Martigues Sport Basket faces Smuc. They are two young and talented teams with the same ambition: to make the “Final Four”. The "Final Four" is an Anglicism.

It brings together the four semi-finalists for the final match. In the world of basketball, as well as that of handball and volleyball, it is the last step before the completion of a season. This concretization ends with the rise of the winning team to the next level.

So this weekend, at the Alderic Chave gymnasium in Martigues, there will be a turning point for these two women's teams. One will win and have the possibility of participating in the "Final Four", the other will lose and see this possibility disappear.

If you have nothing planned this weekend, I invite you to watch this match at 8 p.m. which promises to be full of surprises, and at the same time to come and discover the Venice of Provence” that is to say Martigues.

It is therefore clear that it is thanks to the evolution of mentalities and the affirmation of the place of women in society that they have been able to earn their place in the world of sport.

Despite many inequalities that are still present (media coverage, inequities in sports federations, inequalities in remuneration, etc.), women have been able to fit into the world of sport and break down preconceived ideas.

Through their achievements (at worldwide, national or local level), women have been able to reverse the trend, and the whole world is beginning to see the economic and media potential of women's sport.

If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Virginie In Provence


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