How did the feminist movement influence the emerge of women's basketball?


How did the feminist movement influence the emerge of women's basketball?


Since the beginning of time, gender inequality has influenced every part of a woman's life. Society expects females and males to believe in, adopt and fulfill many different stereotypes about gender roles. For example, women are expected to be obedient, attractive, and quiet nurturers, and men should be strong, athletic, and independent. And that sexism also characterizes the culture of women in sports. This applies to all kinds of sports but particularly women's basketball. Basketball was created in the 19th century, and at that time, it was considered only a man sport. And the women weren't allowed to play. Since then, the sexist views have become wider.

women's basketball

At that same time, the feminist movement began, women started writing literature on feminism to support other women and inspire them to fight for equal rights. There are many free essay samples assigned from teachers to students from different schools and colleges worldwide that are written on this topic, and there are many more themes covered in "The Yellow Wallpaper" essay examples showing us that if the feminist movement in the 19th century didn't happen, nothing would have changed. Because women were fighting for equal rights since the beginning of human society, although as we all know, things are harder to achieve when working alone.

Nowadays, thanks to these movements, many things are changed. Compared to history, there are still people who are against it, but major steps forward were taken, and women nowadays can participate in various sports without any discrimination.

History of Women's Basketball

Women's basketball began firstly at Smith College in 1892, where Sandra Berenson started teaching her students to play basketball as part of their education in hopes that this activity will help them with their physical health, and the sport started spreading over the country after that.  For the man, this sport was just an addition to other team sports such as football and baseball. However, basketball was the first team sport that was shortly followed by volleyball, rowing, and hockey for women.

It is also important to mention that Sandra Berenson took huge risks from teaching her students how to play basketball because, in the 19th century, the Victorian culture was so stressed about the frailty of women, and they tried to keep the status of women at their homes. By that, also Berenson herself was concerned that women may suffer from nervous fatigue if the game becomes too serious for them, so to try and make it acceptable with the Victorian ideals, she modified the rules. The team had to have 9 players, and the court was divided into three areas, and every area had three players, and they shouldn't cross into the line of the other areas. The ball had to be moved by dribbling or passing, and the players only could hold the ball for three seconds, and they only were allowed three dribbles. The most important rule of the game was that they should not snatch or batt the ball away from another player. Also, the women's uniforms had to reflect the Victorian culture, so they were designed to be practical but still maintain the stereotypical femininity.

The first-ever woman's basketball game was played on April 4, 1896. And Branson was the one who prioritized the fitness benefit from this sport and opposed intercollegiate plays. She thought that women were at a serious health disadvantage to men, which she thought limited women's opportunity to get equal rights. From 1895 until 1970 the women's basketball was referred to as netball, which since then started to evolve into what we know today.


We, as human beings, have a lot more to go until we achieve full gender equality. However, the development of women's sports has advanced a lot, starting from nothing. Nowadays, women are professional players and even earn income from playing basketball. As Nneka Ogwumike, a professional basketball player, stated: we work toward equality, and fight for what we deserve". So, after so many years, it is time for the public to finally understand that sports are equally important to females as they are to man.