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Discrimination in Sports


Unjust treatment has been around as long as dirt! It can impact people or things of all sizes, shapes, colors, religions, genders, nationalities, cultures, habits, and customs. It isn’t a good thing, and in this case, we’d like to focus on the discrimination, either perceived or real, against women in sports. Don’t get us wrong, we have “come a long way baby,” and we still have a way to go. In a culture where men are dominant, women have already fought an uphill battle for free speech, voting rights, equal rights, and pay for jobs.

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Discrimination against women in sports is commonplace worldwide. Not only are they not treated equally, their earnings, as well as the media coverage, varies significantly, by sport. The 1972 legislation of Education Amendments was the first big step forward because schools which benefited from federal funding were required to provide equal opportunities for females in sports. Women across the country began building sports clubs that would compete against each other. You may recall the 1987, Los Angeles “Female Celebrities Standing for Equality in Sports”event. Some of the stars who showed their support included Cheryl Tiggs, Marlo Thomas, Whoopi Goldberg, and others. It wasn’t until the mid-70s when women began to benefit from funding for transportation, and uniforms. Previously, women were forced to pay for their own equipment, and rides if they wanted to participate.

In 2012, the college women’s basketball final was viewed by an estimated 4.2 million people, which was a very small 11 percent increase over the prior year. If you haven’t noticed before, pay attention to the 2018 Olympic opening ceremonies, and observe the difference for yourself. Some countries still don’t allow women to participate, and if they are permitted, you can see a noteworthy difference in the numbers of women versus men. As of 2009, the following statistics were reported by the media showing variances between male, and female sports. It reports on the percentage of television news, and ESPN SportsCenter coverage. Of the total media coverage amount:

  • Men’s basketball received 32 percent
  • Men’s baseball received 21 percent
  • Men’s football received 18 percent
  • Men’s golf received six percent
  • All other men’s sports received 18 percent
  • Women’s basketball received two percent
  • All other women’s sports received one percent
  • Gender neutral events received two percent

WOW! Those numbers are very telling, wouldn’t you agree? There are some critics that say women do receive equal benefits because they get the same health coverage, and playtime opportunities. However, we believe that benefits run a little deeper than that small surface.

For example, there are varying levels of play, and men are perceived as playing more aggressively, and at a higher skill level than women, which isn’t always the case.

The Women’s Sports Foundation reports the following disturbing statistics:

  • Athletes who are male, get $179 million more in athletic scholarships each year than females
  • Colleges spend about one-quarter of their athletic budgets on women’s sports
  • An estimated 16 percent of recruiting budgets go towards females
  • And, about one-third of athletic scholarship funds go to female athletes

The media is obviously looking for events that gain them the most eyes on television, that is their motivation, and source of profits. In many cases, male athletes are idolized as heroes, particularly by the younger generations. Why? They have big muscles, they get lots of exposure, make lots of money, drive incredible cars, and they get the pretty girls. In one study, even young boys who were still at the age of “eeeewing” girls, named that trait as one they admired.

If women have the correct skill set to compete in a game, and they want to compete against men, why shouldn’t we give them the same opportunity to try out with the men? We know you have opinions on this controversial topic, let’s hear them!

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By the way, male or female, if you feel you have been discriminated against based on gender, you may file a complaint at any educational facility that receives federal funding. It must be filed within 180 days of the alleged event, and the complaint should include the following information:

  • The name of the individual who was discriminated against
  • The time of discrimination
  • Where the discrimination took place
  • And, how to reach the person filing the complaint

All complaints remain confidential; unless legal authorities require disclosure.


What Do You Think?

Discrimination in Sports

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