FAIR FIGHT
MEGA|July 2021
Breaking barriers and raising standards, Filipina athletes are proving that “playing like a girl” means competing like a champion
MIA CASTRO

MODEL FIGURE

Thomson cites the importance of finding role models and mentors for many female atheletes

When Serena Williams called out the double standards when she was caricatured, labeled crazy, and punished for having a heated discussion with an umpire during a match despite male tennis players having done it before, it reignited the worldwide call for women empowerment in sports. In the Philippines, the 2018 Asian Games where twelve out of eighteen medals, including the country’s four golds were all won by women, put Filipina athletes on the forefront of Philippine sports–a position that they have long been deserving for. Through the years, our female athletes have been bringing honor and glory to their countries, but bigger than the game is the path they are carving for athletes to come.

While we’ve come a long way from using the female gender as a side-comment to degrade other players or crediting a woman’s talent by saying “you’re one of the boys!”, better does not mean we’ve achieved equal visibility and respect. To this day, female athletes in the Philippines are not only are forced to take a backseat in the male-dominated industry but are also treated as a novelty, having to look a certain way to get recognition or their love lives to be more important than the countless medals they bring home. From unequal pay, gender discrimination in higher positions to sexist comments, these women are speaking up and laying claim for respect. Because for every female athlete that overcomes a hurdle or stands on top of a podium, it allows future generations to dream bigger than society’s limitations.

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