Women competing with men

Is there a sport that women can compete equally with men? I’ll grant that there are many sports such as basketball, where the best in the world are logically men, since there is a significant difference in mean height between the genders.

However, one would think that there are plenty of other sports that women could excel in. At the highest levels, golf, darts, bowling, poker, sharpshooting, chess, billiards, car racing… all seem to be dominated by men. There are separate leagues for women in many of these.

People often wrestle with the definition of “sport”… could a sport be defined as something with a lot of public interest and numerous spectators in which women cannot consistently dominate over men at the highest levels? (i.e. Annika Sorenstam competing in or winning a single PGA event doesn’t count)

Let’s keep the joke answers like “giving birth”, “beauty pageant” or “groin kicking competition” out of this thread (feel free to start a diff. thread if you like, though!) I suppose the opposite of basketball is limbo contests. Is there a world champion of limbo? How about something like RoShamBo?

First you exclude groin-kicking contests, and then you mention Roshambo. Make up your mind, will you?

Anyway, there are a lot of sports dominated by men because most of the players are men. Even though women can compete equally, there just aren’t enough of them to make up a significant portion of the upper levels.

Dogsledding and long distance open-water swimming come to mind. I’m not sure if you would say that women dominate these fields, but they have certainly competed successfully.

Women compete on an equal basis in ultra long distance marathons. I believe the current champion is a women and there appears to be an advantage for women over very long distances. The sport is still dominated by men, but several of the top athletes are women.

Any type of racing (auto, motorcycle, etc.) should fit the bill.

Slight hijack:

My favourite theory on gender-differences says that Ma Nature is just more experimental with the male of the species then with the female.
The statistical variety in men is just larger, in *all * area’s. That’s why there are more male geniuses.
That’s also why there are more male deviants, and on average more biologically male “failures” then female ones. Male fetuses that don’t get born, male mental retards, and male socially deviants - bums, addicts, criminals. For every succesful exeperimental result, Ma Nature has to allow several failures.

So, if you count the wordls Top-Ten, in any field, men are quite likely to dominate the field 100 %, with the rare female example (think Judith Polgar).

But, the lower the level, the higher the percentage of women who can compete equally with men. A school’s best ten math-students, for example, may contain 5 girls; while out of the ten best math students from the state, only one or two may be female.


Yeah, but in Nascar, all the pros are seem to be men, except for Danica Patrick. Also, I’m not sure I buy the “dominated by men because the players are men” argument, because that implies there are women who have the talent but are apparently uninterested in the large cash purses offered at high level events.

Equastrianism I believe is mixed and while not dominated by women, certainly there are plenty of women competing. I’m not well up on this stuff, but i think it includes show jumping, dressage and some sort of cross country race. I think it may be called 3-day eventing or something.

Horse racing has female jockeys but seems to be dominated by men.

Of course, the horse is doing a lot of the work in these sports :slight_smile:

ROFL :smiley: Wow, that was a completely unintentional, yet perfect setup for that response on my part, wasn’t it? (I mean the rock scissors paper contest, sorry!)

I doubt it is lack of interest in money. It is socialization. Most girls are not raised to dig being a grease monkey messing about with cars…stuff like that. Further, I think men by nature are more reckless which may equate with a generally higher aggressiveness in males. Put it all together and you just do not see many women getting in to things like auto racing. That said there is no good reason I can think of why a woman cannot compete on an equal level in something like auto racing…there is no fundamental lack of ability men have for that that women don’t.

I remember seeing something awhile ago that tracked women’s performance in a variety of sports and while men generally topped the list in best performance women were very noticeably closing the gap. Only in sports where physical strength is the prime factor (e.g. weight lifting) will men stay in the lead. Males are simply built better for pure physical strength than women and no amount of training will let women catch up there. On the flip side I seem to recall women actually should have an edge in stamina to men but I may be wrong on that.

There was a conversation on the boards awhile back that mentioned men positively dominate tennis versus women. The claim was made that the #100 ranked male player would probably be able to beat the #1 ranked female player. I didn’t think strength counted for that much in tennis but there seemed to be general agreement on that (and yes…I know Billie Jean King trounced Bobby Riggs).

Sailing is pretty much unisex. Until 1984, all olympic sailing events were unisex, but there a few differences these days.

Not professional, but NCAA Coed Rifle.

Far, far fewer women play these sports/games than men, leading to a really shallow talent pool. Women could easily excel, but there aren’t sufficient numbers playing to throw up the really talented individuals. A related point might be that the truly talented sportswomen are often so far ahead of their contemporaries that they don’t receive much pressure to get better, they have an easy ride of it.

We’ve just hosted the women’s European football championships in the UK, and you could see this disparity in talent with the players. The very few quality players on display were so far ahead of the generally mediocre standard that they were playing a different game.

Last time this subject came up, I mentioned an article I’d read that indicated if the billiard’s championship were co-ed, women would sweep the field. But I was unable to find the cite.

Well, I don’t know if this has ever been done, but if men and women were to compete together at a gymnastic competition with a blend of the women’s and the men’s aparatus, I think the women would kick ass - more height, more ease with the stregth moves, higher vaults, more grace on the floor, better balance, etc.

Obviously, this is IMHO, and such competitions don’t exist, but I think if they did, I would be proven correct.

Well, in the United States, Title 9 has increased the number of women playing at the collegiate level. If it were “easy” for women to excel, wouldn’t some of them choose a lucrative sports career?

If I were a woman who had a special talent like world class poker playing, why not go and show up the men? Allowing for a few exceptions like Kathy Liebert and Annie Duke, the word I would use to describe the poker world is “dominated” by men.

Unlike the explanation that women can compete but choose not to… I do think the theory proposed by Maastricht is plausible.

I don’t know about dogsledding, but I do know open water swimming. There are very few people who do any serious open water swimming, and the fastest are generally the men. The fastest English Channel swimmers have been men, with the closest women being 45 minutes or so back. Channel Swims can be found here, though it’s a bit hard to get around the site.

As for distance running, the last time I remember this coming up there had been an article in Runners World, I think. Basically it said that while it seems the women are getting faster, percentage wise the men are getting just as fast. I know the article was within the last six months, but I don’t remember when.

Quick correction - Danica Patrick races in the IRL (Indy Racing League), not NASCAR. And some women have done very well in racing, especially in drag racing. But there’s still not a whole lot of them there.

I don’t think so. I have never heard that women have innately better balance than men and even if they did at that level of competition I think the men are generally as spot on in their balance as can be. Add to that many of the men’s events in gymnastics are strength related. The upper body strength needed for something like Rings, Pommel Horse and Parallel Bars is considerable…women would be at a decided disadvantage there. As for women being more graceful I don’t know. I would personally agree but that may be a societal thing viewing women as more graceful rather than men not actually being able to perform the motions. Then again the men may be more muscle bound than the women and that limits range of motion to some extent.

Also Michele Mouton in rallying; second in the world championship in 1982, and has won championship events and the PIke’s Peak Hill Climb.