Women and men: who is stronger?

Very often, when it comes to men’s invasion of women’s territory in sports, questions and suggestions are heard: “Why do we need a women’s category at all? Sexual segregation in sports is a relic of patriarchy, it’s time for women to compete on equal terms with men, otherwise they completely relaxed in their “female pen”, because many women are not weaker than men – they can and should win in the “present”, that is, “male “Competition!”

Are women weaker than men? The answer to this question is more complicated than it seems at first glance.

On the one hand, of course, yes, weaker. Homo Sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species in which the male is larger and stronger than the female. This is a biological fact.

On the other hand, no, not necessarily, a single woman can be both larger and stronger than a single man. And if this is also a trained woman, but a man is not, then the gap in physical strength can be very serious and in favor of the woman. But in order to understand whether a female category is needed in sports in general, it is necessary to analyze statistical data, and specifically sports statistics. We have some data due to the fact that women have been involved in sports for about a hundred years.

I must say right away that examples like “but one woman somewhere once defeated a man” are irrelevant, because, firstly, these are isolated cases, and secondly, there is no complete data on what level was “that man”, what level was “that woman”, in what physical form, was there a doping control at the competition, was there a match, what kind of refereeing was there, etc. You need to compare statistics of data from those sports where there are objective results, that is, numbers (time, weight, length, distance, etc.), strict refereeing with doping control and ratification of records, and where both men and women are represented in large quantities. And there are such sports, and there is a huge array of statistics of women’s and men’s results that can be compared.

Let’s take the marathon as a basis. This is the most popular sport on Earth – millions of people all over the world, from all countries and continents, take part in marathons, this is a massive competition – 50,000 people each – with the elite and amateurs, of all ages and, what is important for us, flooring wallpaper! Exactly half of the marathon participants are women (even slightly more than half – 51-52% in recent years).

Last year in Chicago, Bridget Cosgey set the women’s world record in the marathon – 2:14:04. Is it fast or not? Is she weaker than men?

Let’s compare her results with those of Russian runners. Only one man in Russia in 2019 ran a marathon faster than Bridget Cosgey, this is Stepan Kiselev – 2:12:56.

That is, in a huge 140 million country, all other men, professional runners, members of the Russian national team, run a marathon slower than this woman. And in many countries, there is not even one man who can run faster than Cosgei.

But what can I say, in marathon running, Cosgey is the strongest male population of the Earth (3,949,164,559 people), with the exception of several hundred men.

Well, then, no women’s category is needed and Cosgei can compete and win against men?

Yes, maybe, but it won’t be a fair competition.

If we look at the results of all the male marathon runners in the world, then in 2019 Bridget Cosgey would have ranked 586 with her phenomenal record.

This is a screenshot of the top lists of marathon runners of 2019 from the website of World Athletics, the international athletics federation.

That is, 585 men in the world ran faster in 2019 than the most the fastest result in the history of women’s marathon running

And the elite usually pay for the first 10-20 places in marathons. Thus, if we combine the women’s category with the men’s category, then all women, no matter how professional they are and stronger than most men, go to the category of amateurs and earn prize money only on small starts.

The men’s world record was set in 2018 and it is 13 minutes faster than the female – 2:01:39. The difference is 10%.

Let me give you an even more colorful example. A few days ago, in Brussels, on the same day, at the same stadium, under the same weather conditions and at the same time of day, women and men world records in the hour run were set. Moreover, both the runner and the runner ran in the same spikes – the same brand and with the same technology.

These are conditions that meet the most stringent scientific requirements, a real scientific experiment.

And what was it like result? Runner Sifan Hassan ran – 18 km 930 meters,

runner Mo Farah ran – 21 km 330 meters. The difference is 12%.

Moreover, Hassan as a runner of even higher class than Farah – Hassan broke the world record on a mile last year and became a two-time world champion, including a distance of 10 km, and Farah did not have a single world record before that day, only weight victories at the Olympics and world championships.

The difference between men’s and women’s top achievements in running is statistically 10-15%. And all the hundred years that we collect statistics have not changed. Both men’s and women’s records are advancing, but the difference in results does not go anywhere.

Let’s take another, directly opposite sport – weightlifting. Sports where endurance is not important, but pure strength.

And here we see an even larger gap between men and women – it reaches 30%.

World records in the category up to 55 kg men:

World records for women under 55 kg:

That is, in endurance sports, the difference between men and women is several times lower than in strength sports.

The conclusion is obvious: men as a population are stronger than women as a population. In the strength component, the gap between men and women is much larger than in endurance.

But social factors are also important: many girls are not given away to play sports, if they are given, then they are not trained as well as boys, teach to be not aggressive, not active, and so on and so forth. Yes, these factors exist and they hinder the development of women’s sports.

But in the 21st century we already have generations of athletes who have been selected by talent from a large mass of girls who have been involved in sports since childhood (from 6-7 years old) , with full attention to them from the coach and ideal conditions for training, they grew up, became successful athletes, set world records, but these records fit into the same statistics – 10-15% worse than men.

On the other hand, we have been observing the same picture for decades: talented girls come to sports, progress very steeply along with boys, often even beat boys of their own age. And at the age of 14-15, the boys go ahead and the difference with the results grows every year. What happens to girls and boys in this magical age?

Puberty happens to them. In girls, it starts a little earlier, and throws them back in sports development. And for boys – at the age of 14-15, and starting from this age, boys add so much in physical form that girls cannot catch up with them.

Trained and talented boys in their sports can reach the women’s world records already starting from 14-15 years old! And then they add and add more.

And girls have a very long time to train before women’s world records, and reach their unit. World records can be unshakable for decades. This phenomenon can no longer be attributed to social factors. This is biology. The same sexual dimorphism, which I mentioned at the very beginning.

Scientific studies only confirm this statistics: men have 50% more muscle mass, significantly higher hemoglobin and other blood parameters important for sports, more lung capacity , hearts, stronger tendons, higher bone density, and so on.

Those who believe that the unification of the female and male categories in sports is equality, you need to understand that: EQUAL does not mean EQUAL.

I’ll give you one simple example.

In boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, etc. there are weight categories. It’s not a secret for anyone that people by nature can have different heights, complexions, constitutions and other parameters, and therefore different weights. It cannot be changed, such is the genetic diversity of people. This is biology.

And in order for all people to have the opportunity to engage in these sports and set their own records, weight categories were introduced. Athletes compete with rivals only in their own weight category. An athlete in a higher weight class has an unfair advantage over an athlete in a lower weight class. Low weight is a protected category compared to higher.

But at the same time, all athletes have equal access to sports and competitions, the achievements of champions from each category are valued equally, medals and records of all categories are equal. It is impossible to hear the statement that, say, the Olympic gold of an athlete from the absolute weight category is a real achievement, and from the middle or lightest weight category it is not a medal, but sucks. Do you know why no one says that? Because everyone understands that people are different and therefore categories are needed in sports. But men, being by nature not the same, are socially equal in relation to each other.

But with women, it’s a different story. Women have historically been unequal in human society. And therefore, the biological differences of women are reproached with them and serve as an excuse for discrimination.

Being a woman is biology. We are born this way, it cannot be changed. We have a body and hormonal system that have evolved to match our reproductive function. We are half of humanity. Without our bodies and reproductive function, humanity is doomed to extinction.

And we damn well deserve our protected category in sports. We have the right to have the same access as men to sports infrastructure and to compete with women of our equal biology. We have the right to sport without male bodies.

Forcing Bridget Cosgey to compete with men is as unfair as forcing a lightweight boxer to compete against an openweight opponent.

We do not claim to be identical with men, we claim to be equal – equal access to opportunities.

To consider women’s sports inferior to men’s means to think in a paradigm: a person and a human norm is a man, and a woman is not a man because she is not a man. This is the paradigm that patriarchy spawned, and many people still think that way. And that’s why they call women’s sports “second-rate”.

But a woman is a woman, not a non-man. This is a completely separate and special organism.

Yielding to men in physiological characteristics is very strong – hemoglobin, testosterone, VO2 max – in men everything is much higher, women in sports are able to develop such speed and strength that they approach the male highest achievements very close and able to beat most men on Earth.

Until recently, women were not allowed to run the marathon distance, because it was believed that the female body was not able to overcome it, and today women perform almost the entire Olympic program on an equal footing with men and show fantastic achievements.

The female body is drop dead effective in sports. From the resource that nature has given us, we can squeeze out no less cool results than men. And in many sports, this is finally understood and the salaries and prize money for men and women have been equalized. In other sports, we still have to fight for this.

We need to strive to involve as many women in sports as possible, to raise the status of women’s sports, to improve the psychological climate around women in sports at all levels. But what we definitely don’t need is to unite the female and male categories in sports and make the world even more unfair for women. We already have enough discrimination in society. Thanks, leave our women’s sports alone.

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