“Sport is a Reflection of society and, in many respects, society is a reflection of sport” (Holman p. 223). Due to the popularity of sport, it has an effect on the image of society. Sport is harder to enter into for women because the make up for sport is set up for male dominance. This shows that for some time sport was not held to the same laws of equality. Women had and still have to some degree, less opportunity than males do in sport. The greater laws of equality in society were not being passed on through sport. Since society today has realized the need for equality in society, sport is on its way to becoming equal. This means sport can no longer be exempt from sexual discrimination. This includes all types of sport who now must make decisions according to equality. In the sports world people often do not acknowledge female sports as much as men's sports. Women sports are newer and hence the reason for them not getting the recognition they deserve. But the sports world is starting to see how women's sports can be just as interesting and exciting as men's sports can be. I am going to show you some discrepancies between women and men's sports. Women and men's sports should each have equal opportunities. I came from a pretty sports oriented high school, sports were very important at my school even more than academics sometimes. I was always a big part of that. Our school is mostly known for our girl’s basketball team and boy’s basketball team. When I was in seventh through ninth grade everyone talked about us. We had these awesome teams that went undefeated for three years. Both teams went on to win the GMC division titles. So many people came to my high school for basketball after those years because everyone wanted to win and if you came to CMHS you probably would win. This streak continued until the coach of the boy’s basketball team passed away. Both teams were so close that this affected both teams equally; I remember how going to practice just wasn’t the same because we didn’t get to see Coach Don’s Nike Velvet Sweat suits. It was so late in the season when Coach passed so the school decided to hire a female coach who happened to be the gym teacher to be the interim coach of the basketball team. This decision almost tore my high school apart many people felt that this decision was unethical and wrong most of these people being men, they felt that a woman wouldn’t be able to “handle” the job of coaching a men’s basketball team to victory. It was then I decided that I wanted to enter the sports field and make a change to the image women in the sports industry. My parents brought me up to think that girls could do sports just as well as boys. I guess it started when I was the “batgirl” for my parent's annual ’baseball team fundraisers. The teams consisted of both boys and girls; sometimes the boys would even go against the girls and play against them. The girl's team was really good and when they played against the boys' teams they actually did very well. So that is one of the reasons why it has always been easy for me to understand that girls were just as good as guys. What also helped me understand this concept was that my mom played more sports in her life than my father, competitive sports on organized teams. I feel that in sports it is the person, not their gender that dictates their athletics ability. Women were not always given a fair chance to showcase there abilities until . When my high school basketball coach was graduating from high school, she wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. At this time there were few teams and the women that played on these teams were not recruited or offered scholarships. The adoption of Title IX in 1972 allowed for female sports to expand and grow at the high school level The law stated that educational institutions had to provide equal opportunities for females to participate in sports as they did males or else lose their federal funding. The June 22, 1997 issue of WIN News reported, “the number of females participating in high school sports jumped from 300,000 in 1972 to 2.3 million in 1996.” An article in the June 19, 1997 issue of Women's Wear Daily reported “that one in every three high school females participated in sports, a significant increase from the one in twenty seven reported in 1972”. I believe you will find that number represents the numbers of female participants today if not a little bit higher. Yet it is reported in the same article that male athletes have twice as many opportunities to participate than the female athlete. More sports are offered for male athletes. Although I know at my hometown high school the number of sports offered per sports season is fairly equal for both male and female athletes. Of course the number of males who actually participate is larger than the number of females To me the college level is a little bit less equal in men and women's sports. We are talking about a completely different caliber of athletes. Women who know the game well and are physically ready to stand the challenges put on them at a higher level of competition. More people want to see women play sports now than in the past because of the better quality of player. With this as a factor television time is something that teams have to compete over. In most areas men get most of this television time. This is not very fair if you ask my opinion. I think that there should be equal television time. Women are just as important as men are. I think since women programs have not been around as long as men's it is easy for people to over look them for things, for example salaries, coaching positions and television time. It is beginning to even out a lot more than what it used to be. Now days you can usually catch a girl's game on some odd channel. The main stations mainly have men's games on them. The biggest area that allows you to compare the discrepancy between men and women's sports is basketball. There are a large number of teams for both men and women, which allows for more equal opportunity. I mean both men and women basketball teams play at the same time and should have the same opportunities, such as airtime and salaries, but they don't. Advertisers and sponsors want to put their money where they are going to get the most return from it and that has always been with the men's sports. The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball League have the largest number of fans and that is the real target of advertisers and sponsors. I am sure that one day it will be better for the female athletes. Women's sports are young and the number of fans in the audience is growing. Sponsors will one day feel comfortable advertising during women's events which will provide the funding to support the female athletes and their programs. Certainly there has been such a large improvement since the early 1900's when female sports were nearly non existent from the extra curricular, competitive viewpoint. Women's sports have become more physical within the past ten years. It is a quicker forum; the women are more athletic which allows for more excitement. People are more eager to watch women's basketball, which should encourage stations and sponsors to support women's programs, allowing them to grow. I know here at the St. John’s University it is hard to really see the difference between the men and women's program, but there is one. When you go to a basketball game here at the college the women's game is before the men's game. When you go in at the beginning of the women's game there isn't really anyone there. You can find a seat anywhere you want. But as their game goes on you can see the crowd start to come in. By the time the men's game starts there is not an empty seat in the house. Both of St. Johns basketball teams are very good so the difference in attendance shocks me. Actually, St. John's women's team has done a little better than the men's team in the last few years. Two of the girls players qualified for the Olympic U-20 tryouts. Still the women do not get the recognition they deserve. Hopefully, someday they will. In the 1997-98 NCAA Gender Equity Study put together by CNN and Sports Illustrated, the average Division I men's basketball head coach made nearly twice as much ($120,857) as did the women's basketball head coach ($74,187). The average operating expense, in the same study, was $197,048 in men's sports as compared to the women's $120,930. Again in the Division I study a large discrepancy exits in the recruiting expenses for basketball with men receiving $52,474 and the women receiving $32,314. If you look at the common professional athlete where money determines whether a player is really good or not. Men make more money than female professional athletes do. Many women athletes have to have a second job other than their sport to make ends meet in the real world. According to the July 19, 2001 Halifax Daily News, Dean Juipe states that “Lisa Harrison, forward for the Phoenix Mercury, makes $35,000.”In the February 2, 1995 issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids, Bob Der and Kara Yorio report that the average salary for a player in the NBA is over one million dollars a year. Jennie Finch, a popular softball player who played for the Olympic team Do you remember what started this change in women sports or what started the acknowledgement of women's sports being equal? It was at the Olympics when the women won the basketball, soccer and softball gold medals. By doing so they proved that women too deserved to be treated as athletes. Equality amongst men and women in sports is not merely measured by their physical drive and prowess on the playing field but also by the percentage of athletes compared to the total number eligible. Title IX has certainly provided a path for society to follow where female athletes are concerned. Great strides have been made to provide an equal opportunity for females in the sports world. Women have come a long way and yet have a long way to go. Increases in scholarships, salaries, airtime, operating and recruiting expenses have left female athletes encouraged yet they still do not compare to those of the male athlete. Women should be treated as equals to men when it comes to sports. Knowing all this information and living through it for a good part of my life I want to see a change with the way that women are perceived in sports. Joel Barker once said “ Vision without action is a dream, Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a postive difference. ales.
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