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The Difference Between Male and Female Athletes

The athletic difference between male and female athletes are driven by the physical characteristics which are determined by the hormones and the genetics. Such parameters may include aerobic capacity, weight, height, body fat and muscle mass. Women, generally, cannot swim, run or jump as much as men can. Due to certain factors, female athletes are more fragile to injuries. The difference between male and female athletes is an ever increasing debate and always revolves around some specific parameters.

Market Force and Equality

Despite the fact that the female athletes have been successful in earning a place in the world of sports during past few years, they are seldom treated equally by team owners and fans. As an example, there is a huge pay gap between NBA and WNBA athletes. From the outset, it might seem that the NBA players tend to promote female athletes, they are never in favor of the idea that WNBA players may be paid same as they are. Moreover, the equality’s pursuit has also demanded that the WNBA players should use same ball size as NBA players and should have the same three-point line. Sometimes, at college level, these difference had grown so worse that the Justice Department and the Department of Education had to intervene. It was because there were a haunting number of complaints and investigations, specifically during the time of Obama administration.

Estrogen and testosterone

Women’s body, naturally, has greater level of estrogen which causes them to have a higher proportion of body fat. Top marathon runner females are thought to be the leanest athletes and they have 8% body fat. This level is 4% for the male athletes of similar category. Also, a female body is less muscular. In contrast, female body’s joints are more flexible as compared to men, which gives them added advantage of greater motion range. The alignment and movement of extremities benefits from the wider pelvis of a female body.

Testosterone, on the other hand, enables men to grow larger muscles and bigger hearts, as compare to women and it gives men advantage in many ways. A male body contains a greater proportion of Type 2 muscles, which is a source of generating power, speed and strength. Testosterone also plays a vital role in the rapid production of red blood cells which absorbs the oxygen and it gives men an advantage in aerobics.


Women, naturally, have delicate bodies and thus are more fragile to injuries as compared to men. Especially, the areas of shoulders and knees are more prone to athletic injuries. Women have weaker shoulder muscles and their supporting tissues are looser, which signifies joints in a female body are less stable as compared to male. Due to these factors, women are more sensitive to having ligament injuries. Therefore, women often need extra training and exercises for strengthening the supporting muscles to safeguard such injuries. It consumes a lot of energy which could otherwise be utilized in the mainstream sports.

Sports Records

A glance at the Olympics competition’s records reveal that the gender gap has stayed at the same level since 1983. For all the events, the mean of difference between men and women has been 10%. For running events, the mean gap is 10.7%. For swimming events, the mean gap is 8.9% and for jumping, it has been 17.5%. The improvement in the performance has been proportional for both the genders. Despite all the statistics, a well-trained and fit female athletes can outperform her male counterpart if he is not equally prepared. In other events where mental concentration is more important, like shooting and archery, women can compete at par with men.


There are basic differences between the male and female body which are characterized by physical characteristics like muscle mass, strength, level of estrogen, levels of testosterones and sizes of muscles. Also, there are inequalities in the market behavior towards the female athletes. The statistics also show a consistent level of performance difference. Despite all these factors, well trained female athletes can outperform their male counterparts especially in events where mental concentration is more needed.



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