Story by Kenya Rosabal
Scrolling on Instagram one day, I saw the NBA posted a photo of the upcoming WNBA game schedule. As a lover of sports, I was excited and wanted to see what others had to say. None of the comments were positive, just a bunch of stereotypical anti-women remarks. They said things such as “women don’t belong in sports” and “why aren’t they in the kitchen?” The worst thing of it all is this wasn’t my first time coming across comments of that nature regarding women in sports.
It’s a shame to see the media look at women in sports as though they don’t have the right to do activities or occupations they perceive as outside of a woman’s traditional role. Women are underrepresented, underpaid and ridiculed in sports and in the media’s coverage of them.
Although approximately 40 percent of sports and physical activity participants are women, women’s sports receive only four percent of all sports media coverage, according to the statistics introduced by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport.
Some argue women’s sports aren’t entertaining enough to bring in revenue therefore, women don’t deserve to be paid as much as males in sports. However, I argue that if women’s sports had as much funding as men’s sports, women’s sports would be more profitable and shine in the media just as much as men’s sports.
Women also don’t get the same opportunities as men. At Webster University, there is a men’s golf team, but not a women’s. At Maryville University, they offer men’s ice hockey and wrestling but not women’s. Fontbonne University offers lacrosse to men, but not women. This is seen throughout student athletics, starting as soon as you enter the school system.
On Feb. 24, 2019, Nike released an advertisement titled “Dream Crazier” addressing the unjust hurdles women jump through in the workplace. The video, narrated by famous women’s tennis player Serena Williams, starts off with a powerful message directed to women. Williams started by saying, “If we show emotion we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional.”
The ad is jam-packed with successful female athletes such as Simone Biles an Olympic gymnast, and Chloe Kim, an Olympic snowboarder.
Williams has always been vocal about the unjust conditions women face in sports. In Dec. 2018, Williams was scrutinized by the media due to a controversial call in the U.S. Open Finals last year. The moment that sparked the controversy was Williams calling the umpire a thief in response to a penalty call.
Women are seen as emotional and sore losers when they show any type of emotion. Sports has such a masculine reputation that when women do it they have to work harder to prove themselves.
On March 8, 2019, the U.S. women’s soccer players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Alex Morgan, a star player on the team said as players, they deserve equal pay for their work, regardless of their gender. To make the statement bolder, the 28 members on the Women’s U.S. soccer team filed the lawsuit on Nationals Women’s Day.
There is no way to justify gender inequality in the workplace or the sports field.
If two people have the same mental and physical capacity to play the same sport, why would it matter if they were a man or a woman?
Women don’t need to take it easy, we need to be taken seriously. If a woman plays a sport, she is an athlete. We as a society need to get rid of gender oppressive stereotypes. Women should be accepted whether they are a homemaker or the head coach of a football team.
Until then, women will keep breaking down barriers and crushing stereotypes in the fight for equality.