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Lack of Female Representation in Male-Dominated Sports

Women need to be in sports, period. Their unique perspective in both on the field and in the professional market will only benefit themselves and those around them, not to mention the physical benefits.

Putting girls in sports at a young age will equip them with skills more advanced than those that don’t participate and will prepare them for leadership-heavy roles in life.

This graphic that I created shows only some of the positives that can come from girls and women playing sports. There is so much good that comes out of being a female athlete.

However, “women in sports” isn’t a popular term worldwide.

  • Of the roughly 2600 coaches in all of major league sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS), ONLY 6 ARE FEMALE!
  • Less than 10% of sports media covers women’s sports and less than 2% of sports media covers sports that are deemed masculine.
  • “The highest-paid player in the WNBA makes roughly one-fifth that of the lowest paid player,” in the super-rich NBA.
The prize money in both World Cups is determined by a single body, Fifa. The prize money for the Male Champions in the previous World Cup was $576 million. How much do you think was the prize money for the women?
$15 million
$50 million
$125 million
$250 million

The results of this survey may be staggering as the male champions were rewarded almost forty times more than the women for playing the exact same game.

Not only do women face discrimination in sports in terms of money and exposure, they also face it in terms of emotion.

This inspiring ad from Nike shows the stereotypes female athletes have to face on a daily basis and how it’s time to overcome them.

Women constantly have to break barriers in regards to athletics as it has only been a short period of time since they have been accepted into the sports world. Women are often stigmatized as “masculine” or “lesbian” if they choose to participate in sports, which can lower one’s self esteem.

Little girls need role models in order to WANT to participate in sports, and the lack of exposure of these role models needs to change.
(graphic by myself)

Strides toward equality have been made on both the local and international levels, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Forty-five years ago, only 294,000 girls in the U.S. participated in high school sports and fewer than 30,000 played on the collegiate level. Today, 3.1 million girls participate in high school sports, compared to 4.4 million boys.

According to data from the NCAA in 2014, the gender ratio for its 472, 625 student-athlete was even closer, about 44 percent female to 56 percent male.

This is an infographic I created from statistics from my own high school in New Orleans. Girls’ sports actually hold more state titles than the boys’ sports even though most of our athletic funding caters towards the male athletics.

Women still receive $179 million less than males in athletic scholarships. Additionally, colleges and universities only allot 24% go their athletic operating budgets on female sports, as well as just 16 percent of recruiting budgets and 33% of scholarship budgets.

On a personal level, I have felt the gender imbalance in the smallest form. For example, playing on the three-time defending state championship soccer team, we only received new jerseys after our third state title. In contrast, other teams on campus (specifically boys teams) get new uniforms almost every season.

Change is Imminent.

Women are a vital piece of the sports industry, and without them, both collegiate and professional programs will miss major pieces to their success. At the end of the day, these programs will lack a huge chunk of money and lose a critical piece of their audience if change is not pursued.

Social media has been a huge factor to the push for women in sports. This Instagram handle @onherturf boasts 29k followers and posts about women empowerment in athletics both on and off the field.
  • With this presentation, I hope that people will realize that this is an important issue and shouldn’t be ignored even on the smallest of levels. Even if one boy sticks up for another girl playing sports on the playground, my message has been heard.
  • I believe this issue begins in the home life. If parents are informed about the benefits of their future daughters participating in/working in sports, more will place their daughters on teams at a young age and foster a culture in which girls can be comfortable playing and watching sports.
  • On the high school level, girls should have immense resources to explore both a playing and working career in athletics. School newspapers should recruit female writers, career fairs should include sports related fields with both a male and female representative, and girls sports should equal funding and coverage as male sports.
One of the most successful teams in the country, the U.S. National Women’s’ Soccer Team, has spoken out about their unequal pay and are taking action for what they believe in.

On the collegiate and professional levels, there is progress made every day towards equality, an example of that being shown in the video above. Female athletes and celebrities are synonymous these days in our culture, and their voices on their stand for equality are stronger than ever, which helps this movement be possible. Any sharing or more exposure that this issue gets from ordinary people like us can help the movement towards women being comfortable alongside men in athletics.

I hope this presentation has inspired some people to go out and make a change as it has for me during the process of putting this all together.

Source List:

Adriaanse, Johanna. “Women Are Missing in Sport Leadership, and It’s Time That Changed.” The Conversation, 19 Sept. 2018, theconversation.com/women-are-missing-in-sport-leadership-and-its-time-that-changed-69979.

Chaffee, Ian. “Forget about Sexism: Now TV Coverage of Women’s Sports Is Just Plain Boring.” USC News, 12 Sept. 2017, www.news.usc.edu/127695/forget-about-sexism-now-tv-coverage-of-womens-sports-is-just-plain-boring/.

Lilit. “Gender Discrimination in Sports: Statistics & Examples.” Women’s Forum, Women’s , 26   Feb. 2018, women-s.net/gender-discrimination-in-sports/.

Neubert , Amy Patterson. “Professor: Young Girls Lose from Lack of Female Athletes on TV News Reports.” Purdue: University News Service , Purdue University , 3 June 2010, www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100603T-CookySports.html.

Perasso, Valeria. “100 Women: Is the Gender Pay Gap in Sport Really Closing?” BBC News, BBC, 23 Oct. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-41685042.

Scheadler, Travis, and Audrey Wagstaff. “Exposure to Women’s Sports: Changing Attitudes Toward Female Athletes.” The Sport Journal, 25 May 2018, www.thesportjournal.org/article/exposure-to-womens-sports-changing-attitudes-toward-female-athletes/.

“Stats Pack for Media .” Women in Sport, June 2017, www.womeninsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Media-Stats-Pack-June-2017-5.pdf?x9983
Struby, Tim. “The Glass Sideline: Why Aren’t More Women Coaching Men?” SBNation.com,   SBNation.com, 27 Nov. 2018, www.sbnation.com/2018/11/27/18096989/women-coaching-men-professional-sports-nfl-glass-sideline.

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COMMENTS: 3
  1. May 01, 2019 by Madison Bequer

    I thought your presentation was very informative and included a lot of information that I didn’t previously know. The fact that women receive 179 million less than males in athletic scholarships was something I didn’t know. I truly didn’t know the discrepancy between men and women. I like that you added a first hand account from the US women’s soccer team to solidify your information. Great job!

  2. May 01, 2019 by Sahil Dansingani

    What are some ways a man can do to help this issue?

  3. May 01, 2019 by Omar

    Hey Grace, absolutely wonderful project, I loved all the media used from videos to pictures to surveys. My favorite thing about your post was that you delivered a lot of your facts and supporting information through the two videos. Great job on the project.

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