Women in Sports

Women in sports have been treated unfairly for ages. They get less money, less respect, and fewer fans. For the last 6 years I have been running track and field, starting at a high school level and now on to collegiate. Two questions I am almost always asked when a male finds out that I run track is “Are you fast?” and “Did you get a full scholarship?” When men talk to other men about sports their ability is nearly never questioned. Being a female my level of skill is always attached to my gender.

The unfair treatment spills over into professional sports as well. In an article I read on The State Press it stated that in the WNBA a rookie contract is $34,500 which is less than the average teachers salary while in the NBA their minimum rookie contract is $543,000. The wage gap is ridiculous. Being a female student athlete I know all about the blood, sweat , and tears it takes in order to get through just a week of classes and practice and the gap is unacceptable for the amount of work put in.

Regretfully, gender biases exist on and off the field as following are just a few comments I found related to male opinions regarding female sportscasters:

“Everyone knows women’s place is dancing provocatively on the sidelines”

“If it’s a female sport, I like female announcers”

“I just wanna know why these broads minds are on man sports and not in the kitchen..”

 

One might ask, will the gap ever close? Will females ever be viewed the same as males athletically ? I’m of the opinion that sadly it will not.

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23 thoughts on “Women in Sports

  1. That pay gap makes me want to throw up. But your mention of “less than the average teachers salary” caught my attention. The idea that women in sports would make less than men in sports is pure stupidity, (though I’m not surprised given current societal standards) but the notion that any athlete should or would make more money than teachers, people who are literally responsibile for educating everyone in our nation, is still idiotic to me. This is clearly my own opinion, but while sports are enjoyable to watch and participate in as a source of entertainment, I feel that it’s easy to argue that the role of teacher’s in our society is immeasurably more important. The fact that we pay male NBA rookies 6 figures while we pay teachers what we do is just baffling to me.

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    • Sports is a form of entertainment. Think about how much movie stars are paid– that is why athletes have the salaries that they do, especially since such physical work goes into it.

      Also, that pay gap is awful. Here’s my question– during the World Cup, wasn’t there a big stir-up about the US Women’s National Team being paid drastically less for winning the Cup, while the US Men’s National Team didn’t even make it to the finals and still got paid an exorbitant amount of money? And at the same time, the women were forced to play on turf fields? I tried to search it up but couldn’t find an article– anyone want to check this out?

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      • What I’m saying is that I think it’s weird how entertainment stars are being paid more than the people educating our nation are.

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      • Yeah the womens national soccer team is Years better than the mens team and they receive little to nothing for their success when compared to their male counter parts. the men lose every year and still get paid.

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  2. I agree with your opinions in this article. Whenever I used to watch sports as a kid, my take on it was that sports are basically designed to cater to men, but a women’s team is created just to keep audiences from getting mad. I actually see this on campus sometimes too where the men’s sports games such as soccer and basketball get a lot of support and fans, whereas the women’s teams don’t. I just hope this type of mindset changes in the future, so young women are empowered to join more sports teams.

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    • That’s a really interesting point. I never really realized that women’s sports were just to shut up people who vie for women’s sectors of sports. I had often just subconsciously viewed the WNBA as a huge sign of progress; but with that wage gap, there is no way it is. It may have something to do with how much revenue is garnered by the NBA vs the WNBA, because the NBA definitely has more supporters. In this article that I linked below, it does recognize the fact that WNBA players aren’t paid the same percentage of league earnings as other male-dominated sports in the 1950s. The data from this relatively young league, the WNBA, was compared to that of the NBA, and NFL in the 1950s because the WNBA is currently making a similar revenue.

      https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/basketballs-gender-wage-gap-is-even-worse-than-you-think

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    • I agree with the comments state above that you really do never see women’s sports advertised on campus. I have maybe seen a women’s sport advertised once on campus. As much as this gap is terrible I have to say I do think it is because of this lack of people watching. Don’t get me wrong I do not think there should be this big of a gap but when you just step back and look at it on a financial level the amount of money being taken in is a lot less. Thus, I feel like in order to fix this gap there is a lot to learn of why exactly there is a lack in watching and whatnot. I just hope one day this does equal out and people stop seeing these men’s and women’s sports as such separate and different leveled sports.

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      • Yeah, when you think about the wage gap with respect to how much attention both the NBA and WNBA garner, you can really see how the separation of men’s and women’s sports contributes to the problem. If you already have an existing league like the NBA that has a lot of fans and support and you create a secondary league strictly for women, it’s such an uphill battle to try and get it’s level of support up to where the NBA is because you have to work against established prejudices as well as mainstream popularity. It’s kinda like what we talked about in class last Tuesday about the separation of men’s and women’s labor: separate cannot be equal. I feel like issues like the pay gap between men’s and women’s sports will be really hard to correct under a system of gender-separated sports leagues.

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  3. I think that it is interesting when having the conversation about co-ed sports versus single gendered sports. There is separation that affects the way people see women like they cannot compete against men because they are not good enough but then also brings up the other thought that then would women have more issues because of the things that would be said about them if they were not beating men.

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  4. This is such an interesting point. Not only is the pay for female athletes lacking, but the respect for female athletes lack too. Many of my male friends watch sports religiously and it is very rare that they consciously tune in to watch sports that women play. It is almost as if it is joke to them to watch a WNBA game, a game they won’t take as seriously as an NBA game. In my opinion, this attitude stems from expecting a sports game to consist of only males and when a woman steps into that field its almost as if they are “out of place”. Basically expected to be just the cheerleader or sports announcer just as you pointed out. Once society gains a higher level of respect for women in sporting fields, the views of athletic women may change for the better.

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  5. I played tennis and in my county the team was not all that separated so I can not relate to differences in funding very much. However I can relate to the tendency for women to be doubted in their skill. I lost track of count on how many times I’ve heard a coach “whisper” to their players especially in mixed doubles to target the girl assuming she must be the weaker player. Honestly i got so tired of it i eventually started faking out opponents during warm up where I make myself seem like a weak player only to smash the ball back into their faces when the game officially starts to make a point. With boys they never got the same treatment they were only determined weak players after it was clear what their skill level was not after a gendered assumption.

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  6. This made me think about the article we just read about sex segregation in the workplace. This is a more non-traditional workplace, but a work environment nonetheless. I don’t understand why the WNBA is devalued in comparison to the NBA. I’m sure all of those women could run circles around the men who make decisions about their pay grade anyways. Gender should not be such a key determining factor in regard to wage rate because if someone puts in work it should receive a certain amount of acclamation and reward.

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  7. This article reminded me of some other issues that occur when women participate in sports. When a woman performs well at her sport, many men will remark and say “Yeah, she’s good… for a girl.” Also, in co-ed sports, some men will automatically assume that the women who are playing are less skilled or powerful than the men, similar to when you mentioned that the coaches will tell their team to target the girls in a game.
    Although it’s considered more of an e-sport, I experience some of these problems when i play Smash Bros. Many people will assume I’m less competent due to my appearance. And when people aren’t looking down on me, I get unreasonably hyped up for being a fem-presenting person who “doesn’t suck.” It’s all very obnoxious and I wish it would stop. I hope we can all just play our games in peace together and have fun one day.

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  8. Ugh, this topic really gets me fired up. I personally played several sports throughout my childhood and early adulthood and in particular pitched for a semi-pro league for several years. I even qualified for the first ever Raven’s cheer squad but bowed out quickly when I was told that I would not be getting paid, even though practice was six days a week with a game every Sunday. I had also written to the then President when I was 10 about why there were no professional women’s softball teams and eventually got a response that had nothing to do with my question what so ever. This really bothers me because like you said the wage gap is super significant between women’s pro sports and men’s. And the fact that a woman’s skills are always questioned in regards to her gender. This was a really great topic to address and thanks for sharing.

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  9. I completely agree with you on everything because I ran all four years in high school and I heard the same questions. And now that I’m thinking about it, I never realized that my male teammates never got asked, people just assumed they were fast or watched to find out. The wage gap you shared is so sad I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I don’t understand how it makes since to pay someone less than someone else in the same position because of their gender/sex/class/race etc. I also agree that the view of women’s sports will never change and we will never get the treatment we know we deserve. I appreciate you bringing this up and I also am routing for you 100% with all your running endeavors in the future. Keep running and being proud that you are in a sport you love no matter who questions you about it or judges you.

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  10. Wow the wage gap is actually ridiculous, and it says a lot about the lack of importance women in most positions get. I’ve seen in my high school and here that mens’ games get way more attention than womens do. It is definitely something to work on but the more strong female athlete figures there are I feel like it will help.

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  11. Just the fact that it must be called “WNBA” is ridiculous. The NBA doesn’t have an M in front of it. I’m sorry you have to constantly hear these remarks, you’ve worked really hard and you deserve equal respect and for people to believe you have the ability to be where you are. I used to lifeguard in the summer and I remember the women’s bathing suit was more expensive than the men’s bathing suit and it was official uniform we had to wear and it made no sense that the amount to pay for the swimsuits was differing.

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  12. Over the years, I have heard of the massive amount of money male athletes make in the NBA compared to females in the WNBA and it is outrageous. It’s ridiculous to see the gap at such a large discrepancy and I honestly do not believe that the wage gap will ever close. Although we have made great strides in society and women’s right I still think we have a long way to go before we may even begin to make it close.

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  13. What is perhaps most indicting of the wage inequality prevalent within sports is that of the US women’s national soccer team. Many people argue that the reasons behind the significant wage gap between male and female athletes are due to things such as poorer ratings, less sponsorship and lower attendance of women’s sports within the industry, however, one only has to look at soccer to dispute it. The US men’s soccer team earns more for every game they lose than the women’s team does for games they win. Not to mention the fact that due to their impressive winning streak, they hold the highest television soccer ratings period. So while things may look bleak for women in sports in regards to respect and income, there are many women fighting (and succeeding) to challenge the idea that women’s sports are in any way lesser to men.

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  14. I feel as if this is less of a gender gap between the sports, as far as wage goes, and more about the revenue drawn. In a perfect world we could just say men and women should be paid equally in the same sport and it would happen but unfortunately there are too many sexist variables inhibiting this. We must take into account crowd size, big brand sponsorship, and Television viewers. Sadly until those numbers equalize there can be no sport wage equality.

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  15. I would have liked to see your article further fleshed out because in my opinion, it was just too short to have effectively conveyed a complete and thorough argument that could really turn people’s opinions around. If I might make some suggestions, I would incorporate more direct sources that have data about the disparities in pay in the sports industry as a whole rather than just quoting one article about one job. This would provide a more complete perspective of the issue overall and make your argument that a gender wage gap in sports exists much more reasonable along with providing sources for the quotes that you incorporate in your article.

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  16. The notion that female athletes work less or deserve less for their work is terrible. However, with any study, wage gap or otherwise, I would like to see how this figure compares to when certain factors are controlled for. I think what it comes down to is that most people don’t watch women’s sports on TV, and people don’t pay very much money for tickets to see women play sports. Because of this, men’s sports are marketed extremely heavily, so most of our exposure is to that side of athletics. It’s a positive feedback loop of favoritism of male over female athletes and marketing that reinforces that favoritism. When many sports don’t even have televised women’s leagues, it is no wonder that they receive less compensation in the leagues that are televised.

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  17. I find it interesting how some people only assume that women get paid less because they aren’t as successful in their sport, even when this idea is painfully false with one of the biggest indicators being the consistent success of the USWNT. I never really fully understood the reason for the gap mainly because the women’s teams are doing the exact same thing as the men’s teams. This is all really unfortunate.

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