Netball is not a sexist sport

I promised myself I wouldn’t get political about the Commonwealth Games but alas, there is a slight debate that has cropped up on my Facebook timeline that has annoyed me somewhat. It isn’t about the Union Jack/Saltire flag debate; or the debate over what colour of smoke should be coming out the back end of a Red arrow. It isn’t about the national anthem sang at the opening ceremony, although, ‘God Save the Queen’ is the national anthem of many of the countries in the Commonwealth so it would make sense for it to be sung at the Commonwealth Games. That being said, I personally don’t think ‘God Save the Queen’ should be sang anywhere…

It’s about a particular sport in the Commonwealth Games and that is Netball. When netball is mentioned, you think of it as a ‘woman’s sport’. Well, as it turns out, lots of men online think this, somehow, makes it a sexist sport. This is simply due to the lack of men that participate in Netball. Some people tend to be under the belief that men are actively excluded from netball. That is not the case. Men are welcome to come and have a go, in Glasgow, where the commonwealth games are being held, they’re even starting up a netball league for men and women. Netball is one of the only competitive sports that have mixed teams in some competitions. 

Netball is not a sexist sport. It actually originated from society’s dodgy attitude towards women playing sport in the Victorian times. It became the only sport women could play without fear of being looked down upon by society, who saw sports as manly, and unfeminine. Netball became popular throughout the 20th century. It was incorporated into school Gym lessons and it was mainly girls who played the sport. 

The people calling netball sexist are the people who are, intrinsically, worried that their male privilege will be affected. Their patriarchal beliefs mean that their over representation and dominance in society is threatened because Netball is a sport in which women are more represented than men for a change. Instead of calling netball sexist, support women’s sports. It is after all, a tad rich, calling netball a sexist sport when men’s sports are constantly on the television. All we see is men’s football, men’s rugby, men’s cricket and men’s formula 1, and you have the cheek to moan about women playing a sport that represents them more? 




  1. But wouldn’t it be better still if there was also a men’s netball competition at the commonwealth games? Or better still, make the competition mixed? Netball may not be sexist per se, but to have a sport (any sport) at the commonwealth games where only one gender can participate is a little sexist.

    • As this article has already outlined, just because there are no men participating in the netball competition doesn’t make netball even a little sexist. Is there a high demand for men’s netball at the commonwealth games? For me, the lack of men playing netball is a direct result of patriarchy which, BTW also affects men and masculinity negatively as well as women. Netball is portrayed as a women’s sport and this is damaging because if men DO play netball then patriarchy means that they may be discouraged because it is seen as ‘less manly’ than other sports, such as football.

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