The Penn State women’s volleyball team has a long-standing tradition of excellence. Head coach Russ Rose has been in charge since 1979, and as of the end of the 2014-2015 season, maintained a .866 win-loss percentage with a record of 1161–180. His team is currently ranked number one in the nation.
The U.S. women’s national basketball team has not lost an Olympic match since 1992.
When is the last time you heard anything about them in the news?
Women’s sports are simply not as well-covered by mainstream media. There are reasons for this of course; women’s teams rake in less revenue than their male counterparts, for example. Except in select cases like softball and tennis, women’s sports are generally just not as popular. That, however, doesn’t make them less worthwhile.
A team that wins a national championship, Olympic medals, or international competitions shouldn’t have to fight for the right to media coverage. Women athletes who train hard, pouring the same blood and sweat into their efforts as male athletes, should be equally honored by society.
In a rare moment of progress, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team received a ticker tape parade through New York City after their triumphant return to the states. This was the first celebration of its kind for a women’s team in 31 years.
Title IV’s inception in 1972 prohibited all discrimination based on gender for any educational program that receives federal funds, opening up athletic opportunities for women at the high school and college level. However, that doesn’t include the media coverage.
Girls and women in sports are receiving more opportunities at the professional and amateur level, but we as a society must also recognize that our bias against women in sports is still prevalent and very damaging.
The National Women’s Hockey League, the female equivalent to the NHL, is only a few months old but is already facing scorn and derision. Derogatory internet comments and disbelief from some commentators are easily found through brief Google searches.
The Pittsburgh Passion is a professional women’s football team that went undefeated last season. In 2014 and 2015, they won back-to-back Independent Women’s Football League championships and recently had a day dedicated to their honor. Despite these achievements, they receive only small nods from mainstream media.
This is obviously not a problem to be solved overnight. Realistically, it will take years, or maybe even decades, to achieve true equality for girls and women in sports, but even a small step in the right direction is a positive change.
Think critically when you next see an article about female athletes. Does it portray a positive message of acceptance and fulfillment, or is it a thinly veiled stereotype? Better yet, if you don’t watch women’s sports, sit down and check out a game. See these women, who have trained for years to be some of the top in their profession, execute and win again and again.
Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal