I thought I'd show the current world records for Olympic athletics events - with the addition of the mile because it's my favourite event and of historic importance, and the taking out of the walks and multi-discipline events. Then I compared the men with the women to show how much faster, higher or longer the men's records are. You will see a few lines where the women's records would seem to be better than the men's record, a glance at the last two columns will explain why. In the sprint hurdles the women run 9% shorter and over much lower hurdles and the men are still quicker. In the 3000m steeplechase the hurdles are lower and the men are still quicker. In the throwing events you'll notice that the men's objects are around twice the weight of the women's (apart from the javelin where it's only 33.3% heavier) and the men still generally throw further. Taking into account all of these adjustments the men are still 11.22% better than the women. Now do you see why people prefer to watch men compete, they are better.
In football and cricket, women play at a fair level but nowhere near the men's standard. But it is tennis that is the sport where women most often claim parity with men, I think not. I have heard some women try and convince the stupid that women have beaten men on straight match terms. As far as I am aware there have been four such singles matches over the years.
The first two matches were between an ageing Bobby Riggs (55 at the time of the matches) and the then still top women players Margaret Court and Billie Jean King. Riggs won the first and lost the second. This was less about men versus women than old versus young.
The next match was between Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova. Jimmy Connors was then aged 40 and Martina Navratilova was aged 35. It was over the best of three sets and the hybrid rules favoured the female player in that Jimmy Connors was allowed only one serve per point, and Martina Navratilova was allowed to hit into half the doubles court. Jimmy Connors still won 7–5, 6–2.
The last match that I can recall was held during the 1998 Australian Open between the then 31 year old Karsten Braasch and the Williams sisters then aged 17 and 16 respectively. Prior to the matches the Williams sisters had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked below 200. Braasch was then ranked 203rd and challenged them both. Braasch first took on Venus and beat her 6–2. He then played Serena and won 6-1. It seems that Serena Williams has learned her lesson because when in 2013, Andy Murray responded to a Twitter user who asked whether he would consider challenging Serena Williams, by saying "I’d be up for it. Why not?" Williams reacted positively to the suggestion, remarking "That would be fun. I doubt I’d win a point, but that would be fun.
So parity in tennis? I think not.
Any sports where there is parity? How about where women out perform men? I'll wait, yes...