Women in Sports
Men have always been frontpage news while women are pushed to the side. Nowhere exemplifies this more than the sports industry.
Misogyny in sports is not news. It’s been engraved into society since the beginning. Despite their talents, sportswomen have struggled to get the same stardom and salary as their male counterparts. Why is that and what needs to be done?
Sports have long been painted as masculine. The only sports that are considered proper for girls often emphasize grace and beauty, like figure skating. This stigma has been prevalent for years and women who defy this notion are accused of abandoning their femininity. Gender stereotypes in sports are so engraved in our society that many women adopted the notion as well, going on to discourage their daughters from pursuing athletics. The home is the first place girls abandon any desire in sports.
The few women who do go on to compete professionally face a plethora of new challenges. Sportswomen put up with sexism throughout their career. Women are often discredited, ridiculed, underestimated, and objectified. It's no secret that sportswomen are often sexualized and questioned about their wardrobe rather than their sporting accomplishments.
Then comes the issue of salary. Women are often unfairly paid and the United States Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT) has been vocal advocates. The United States Women’s Soccer team cashed in 2 million dollars after winning the world cup in 2015. The men finished 11th and took home 9 million dollars. This is not suggesting that men should be paid less. It is simply pointing out how winning an international tournament pays less than finishing 11th.
Some make the argument that the men bring in more viewers thus justifying their higher pay. But this is by design. Men bring in more viewers through sponsorships and campaigns and the century-long believe that sports are their turf. This is not meant to take away from the men’s league; it is simply to prove women have not been given the same luxury. Women’s sports have been given 5% media coverage. Furthermore, women's sports receive only 0.5% out of all commercial sponsorships. This makes it all the more difficult to promote women's sports and bring in more viewers.
We need to continue to encourage girls to play sports. The health benefits speak for themselves. Sports can increase confidence, self-esteem, and lower depression, this goes for both sexes.
Industries need to understand that women's sports have the potential to thrive if given the same attention as men. It will bring in new fans and business. Fans need to recognize that female athletes are talented. They harbor the same determination and desire to represent their nations. We need to start respecting the women’s league and view them for what they are: athletes.