Institutional Artifact Project (Sports Edition)

Thurmya Davis

Gender Communication

July 2nd 2020

Institutional Artifact Project (Sports Edition)

            “I have often been asked if I am a woman or an athlete. The question is absurd. Men are not asked that. I am a woman and an athlete” – Billie Jean King. Sports are dominated by men. Basketball, football, soccer, baseball, race car racing, and more. Only 8 years ago (in 2012) it was announced that the first time in history all participating teams in the Olympics would have female athletes. In 2013 it was announced that fencing was the only sport that women outnumbered men; only beating them by 2 people. This is an ongoing problem in the sports community. Women in sports are overlooked and shadowed by men. The NFL was created in 1920 vs the WPFL was created in 1999 (almost 80 years later). The NBA was created in 1946 vs the WBNA being created in 1996 (50 years later). Inequality against women in sports can not be justified. Why is there is gender label on having fun, and having athletic skills? It is discrim-inatory behavior that men are automatically given access to enjoy sports, yet women have to fight for that luxury. Is this because of biological theories, brain development, psychological theory, or just biased ways?

            When a couple birth’s a little boy, as the boy reached grade school is it immediately sports time. The little boy will be in little league sports such as baseball, basketball, football and more. As the little boy reaches high school, sports are supposed to fund college tuition and hopefully even become a professional career that turns the little boy into a millionaire. It is the opposite for little girls. Little girls are expected to get college scholarships by earning the best grades. A very small percentage of girls can become dancers, cheerleaders, or tennis players. Women’s basketball scholarships became available decades after men. In 1972, the Education Amendment is what made sports scholarships for women possible. This amendment states, “Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. This was in 1972, for decades women were struggling to pay for college while men were able to receive free aid for playing sports.

            Even though women are still struggling to get more media coverage in sports entertainment, we have come a long way. Women in sports entertainment now have women basketball, football, baseball teams and more. While women do deserve the same sell out arena’s, screaming fans, and tv coverage the main issue is the pay gap. According to Forbes, a male athlete can earn up to the least on thirteen thousand dollars per game vs the female athlete earning the least of four thousand dollars. That pay gap is nine thousand dollars, nearly ten thousand dollars which is totally unfair. Just last year Forbes released an article titled “Why Females Athletes Earn Less Than Men Across Most Sports”. According to this article, tennis is the only sport that women earn the same amount of money, sometimes more. As stated previously, remember that tennis is typically looked at as a feminine sport (in society). In 2018, nine out of the ten highest paid female athletes were tennis players. Another piece of evidence that tennis is sought out to be a sport for females; what about women who play professional basketball, football, baseball, swimming, track, and more? The average salary in the WBA in 2018 was a hundred thousand vs the NBA being thirty million dollars; completely insane. The media’s reason for this is because society prefers to watch and spend money on sports that have male athletes.

            It is true, is it not much sports companies can do if society prefers male athletes. So this is in issue in society. I believe this is a mixture of biological theories, brain development, psychological theory, and just biased ways. It is true that biologically men are typically more aggressive and competitive which are both required to play professional sports. Brain development plays a role in this discrimination because since men typically have these biological traits, women are were used to forcing themselves to not like certain activities because it wasn’t “lady like”. Similar to brain development, psychologically women will subconsciously think they would not enjoy a sport because of the aggression, competitiveness, or even getting dirty. All three of these theories caused bias ways, and gender discrimination within sports. Even though we have mad great progress, we still have so much work to change the bias way of thinking to give women athletes the attention and pay they deserve.

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