The National women’s history museum is a museum with online exhibitions that talk about women and their stories in various aspects. The museum takes one through various significant historical events that took place involving women. Some exhibits talk about extraordinary women who made great strides in making a woman’s place in the society valued. Women have made commendable and great acts in the past, however, they have not been acknowledged even though their efforts have made a remarkable change in the society. The National Women’s Museum History’s primary purpose is to gather information about these women and recognize their efforts by telling their stories. It is through seeing the achievement of these women in the past that can help women in present to push for their rights. It is also a place to encourage minority groups in the present to continue fighting for what they believe. This paper discusses the history of women in Olympics as seen on the exhibit of women in Olympic. The presentation is significant because it shows the different strides and struggles women have made and gone through so as to be included in the Olympic games.
Olympics games since time memorial were a place of men. The games originated from Olympia a town in the southwest of Greece over 2,700 years ago. The games were held after every four years and were the most valuable thing in the ancient calendar. Over 50,000 people came from all over Greece to watch the games. The purpose of the Olympics in those years was to make a tribute and honor king of the gods Zeus. Over time the goal of the Olympics has changed and now they are a place to promote peace and understanding among all nations across the globe. The games are a place where people discuss various challenges that affect the world and come up with solutions just like teams participating in the games. There were no tokens of appreciation offered to the winners like in the modern Olympics where they are offered gold, silver or bronze. Instead, participants used to compete for the glory of their cities. Olympics was not a place for women until around 1900 when the first ever 22 women were officially given the opportunity to participate in the games. The exhibit narrates women’s participation in Olympics since their first time which was in 1900 until today 2016. The process of presenting the women in Olympics takes a historical analysis where we see the first women participate in the game. We also see how they were treated until today and the changes that have occurred for the Olympics to be more accommodative to women. Taking the historical perspective and walking through history as exhibited is helpful in understanding how the Olympics world has evolved over time. It would not be easy for one to understand the magnitude of change that has taken place in the inclusion of women if the exhibit just presented the current situation and a single past event in the Olympics world.
Since the exhibit was about American women in Olympics, it would have been more appropriate to mention a few other women in history who participated and not just the few who managed the lead. An example is a golfer Margaret Abbot who won in the Olympics held in Paris in 1900. If we were to dig into the history, we would find that she was not the only woman who participated in the games that year. The other women were excluded. However, it would have been prudent just to mention them because they are part of the few who struggled for the inclusion and they are the reason why there are more American women in the games today than men. Recognizing them would mean that the museum cares about not only top performers but also all those who put a little bit more effort in their endeavors.
The exclusion may not entirely be intentional because even Abbot herself never knew that she had participated in the Olympics. It is later in history that people recognize her as an Olympics champion. Professor Paula Welch, a lecturer at the University of Florida, contacted the family of Abbot to inform them of their mother’s achievements. The professor did this after digging through history on Olympics. The Olympic games of those years were not as organized as the modern ones. Therefore, some information may have been lost in history although not entirely. It was only easy to get information on Margaret Abbot because she was a top performer in golfing.
The story addresses issues like gender inequities in the society and the struggles that various people have gone through to eliminate them. An example of this is a former high school basketballer and a former US Representative Patsy Mink. Ms. Mink who played just the half-court under the girls’ rules made the issue of gender discrimination her sole fight of her entire congressional career. The fight against discrimination was probably based on her life where she was from a Japanese decent amongst the majority who were those from European ancestry. Mink, therefore, understood what it meant to be in the minority group. The greatest accomplishment in her legislative role was that she was a principal author of the Act known as the Equal Opportunity in Education Act. The Act prohibited discrimination based on gender in all institutions funded by the government. An imperative consequence of passing this act was that there was a considerable growth of programs in American schools and colleges that involved women in athletics.
Women over the centuries have struggled to establish their place in the society. They have always struggled not just to be seen for their domestic purpose but also in outside activities like careers. The museum does not challenge the popular opinion but supports it by providing real evidence on the struggles of the woman in the society. The exhibit on women in the Olympics is just one of the many presented by the National Women’s History Museum showing the struggles.
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