Japan’s Women’s Soccer team may have won the World Cup last year, shutting out the USA and securing a major victory, but that doesn’t mean they get to ride up front in the fancy seats on the way to the Olympics with the menfolk.
Yes, even in this day and age, Japan’s Women’s Soccer team was placed back in “cattle class” with all the non-celebrities, while the men’s athletes were seated in business class befitting athletes important enough to represent the country in the Olympics.
Booking issues were not what placed the Japanese Women’s Soccer team in the back of the bus — both teams left together, on the same Japan Airlines flight. And player on the female team Homare Sawa says:
“I guess it should have been the other way around… Even just in terms of age, we are senior.”
It wasn’t just players in Japan who received seemingly preferential treatment seemingly based on the fact they had a penis — the Australian Olympic basketball teams similarly had an airline class differential between women’s and men’s teams. The male Boomers were placed in business class, while the females on the Opals team rode in economy.
A spokeswoman for the Olympic planning officials in Australia said that disparity was not due to favoritism or taking male sport more seriously than female, but rather the fact that male athletes are larger overall than their female counterparts:
“The leadership group of each team is consulted on how that budget is spent – including travel arrangements… First and foremost, we’re always conscious of the welfare of our players… Different factors are taken into account when organising travel arrangements for our national teams – height and size being a primary consideration.
“For example, the average height of our male basketball players is 200.2cm. The average height of our female basketball players is 183cm.”
However, as the Sydney Morning Herald points out, that doesn’t always track, as “Opals rising star Liz Cambage is 203 cm tall, while Boomers players Adam Gisbon and Patrick Mills stand 188 cm and 183cm respectively.”
Do you think the treatment of the Japanese and Australian women’s teams is indicative of overall lack of respect for female athletes?