License: CC BY-SA 3.0 (Larry D. Moore)
License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Larry D. Moore

Gender Inequality in Sports

May 13, 2016

Candace Parker, Danica Patrick, and Alex Morgan. All female athletes who have broken through the many barriers set in their way, to become some of the most successful in their sport. Kobe Bryant, Jeff Gordon, and Landon Donovan. All male athletes who have overcome obstacles and have had record breaking careers. These athletes have so many things in common, but the one thing that sets them apart from each other is their gender.

Women still struggle with equal represented and treatment in many aspects of life, one of which includes sports. The issue of inequality in sports is not only present at the professional level, but also at the collegiate and high school level.

Starting at the high school level, statistics from a CNN report, 28% of co-ed public high schools with interscholastic sports programs have what are considered to be “large” gender disparities in access to team sports. This statistic alone shows how much work is still to be done to create equal opportunities for girls participating in high school sports.

Although it may seem like nothing was ever done to reduce statistics such as this one, there is Title IX. Title IX states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Title IX was enacted in 1972, and not much has changed since.

Some can even say that Title IX has not done its justice for female sports.

“No, the female athletes are not treated equally like the boys are, they are seen as the weaker sex, and if it was truly equal then the girls would be able to do any sport they wanted to. Sports have been made “safe” for women so they have different rules so it isn’t as harsh,” argues Sophomore, Ariana Frutos-Sarmiento.

This situation in high school sports happens similarly at the collegiate level of athletics. One good example how are sports have inequality is March Madness. While the whole country focuses on getting their bracket’s just right for the annual collegiate basketball tournament, more is happening in the world of sports.

Left to Right: Angela Lomeli, Adriana Vaiao, Serafina Ah-You
Ahysha Kauhi-Choy Foo
Left to Right: Angela Lomeli, Adriana Vaiao, Serafina Ah-You

Which carries on to the ultimate show of inequality: Professional sports.

The stage has never been larger, showing how greatly the world would rather see the men run and sweat than the women play sports and take part in professional teams. This holds true for many athletes, considering what comes with being a professional, which includes getting paid, and being given airtime on national television.

In accordance with this, members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team had recently filed a wage-discrimination action against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Given that the women’s team has been much more successful than the men’s team一winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and earning their fourth gold medal in the 2012 summer olympic games in London一they deserve to get paid a little more right? Wrong, the women are paid thousands less than the men who have been a little less than lucky in the past few years.

Although women face many inequalities in sports, the main goal is to procure support for these issues and to not degrade men’s sports, which is just as great.

Recent scandals involving high profile female athletes such as Maria Sharapova bring another point to light in this well heated debate. Maria Sharapova had recently failed an annually administered drug test. As Sharapova’s failed drug test comes to light, many people have mixed opinions on the role of women in sports.

Situations, such as Sharapova’s failed test, where high profile female athletes are involved, cause some to name these instances as cause for why women don’t deserve equal representation. But should these individual faults determine representation for all women in sports?

“No it’s not right,” said sophomore student-athlete Richshia Duke-Washington, “because boys do the same things as the girls do, they just probably aren’t caught when they do it.”

Of course, the solution to this problem may seem straightforward and fairly easy to accomplish, but also poses some possible issues.

“I would have the rules be the same for each sex,” suggests Ariana. “ For appropriate sports I’d have them all be both sexes, like soccer, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, and even football too.”

Females continue to struggle in their fight for equal ground on the field, on the court, and on the track. As society continues to bicker, this may seem like just another movement aimed at bringing down a certain power, but the female-athletes’ struggle for equality views men and women as equal competitors, empowering both, not downing one. Would it be so bad for men and woman to be equal? ‘

 

“A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man.Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given. A woman is human.”

Vera Nazarian

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