by Leanne W.
Gender equity in a sporting environment is resources, programs and decision-making being fair to both male and female genders and also identifies any imbalances in the benefits they receive. Sport is an area that we see many issues with gender inequity. The gender pay gap is seen heavily in sports among other areas. Female athletes are often paid way less than their male counterparts when participating in the same sport. This requires many female athletes to also try and balance full or part time jobs while they also have vigorous training schedules and family lives as well.
Basketball is a increasingly popular sport in North America. Players in the WNBA get paid way less than NBA players no matter what experience or skill level. The highest paid player in the WNBA still makes less than the lowest paid player in the NBA by thousands of dollars. In 2015 the US women’s soccer team just won a gold medal at the world cup and received only 2 million dollars compared the men’s team who came in 16th place and received 9 million. At major sporting events such as tennis tournaments female events often have lower paying prize money for the winners often the price differing by as much as thousands of dollars. Female athletes are fighting for change, as they deserve to make the same amount of money for playing the exact same sport in the exact same event. Although we have seen small changes to increase the amount of money female athletes make, we still have a long way to go until both genders are making equal amounts.
Another area of sport where we see gender inequity is sports media coverage. The Olympics is one of the only international events where we see women’s events advertised and broadcasted just as much as the men’s events. On regular sport broadcasting stations such as ESPN, less than 1 percent of all coverage is coverage of female sport, and we do not see female analysts only female reporters who are often very pretty. When turning on the TV casually and turning to the sports channels, you will never stumble upon a women’s event by accident it will always be male events as female events are not played at prime television hours. They are often played mid-afternoon during the weekdays when most individuals are still at work or early on weekend mornings when most people would still be asleep.
In 2018 the first female college gymnastics meet was televised on the ESPN network showing UCLA competing against University of Kentucky. These are the two top rated college gymnastics teams in the United States. Although ESPN broadcasted the event, it was broadcasted mid-afternoon and it was not properly advertised so it had a low viewer rating. Male college sports are a huge part of sporting coverage and have been broadcasted for years. The most common sports to see televised are national leagues such as the NFL, NHL, MLB and many others. This leads many to wonder if women’s sports even have national leagues as we never have the opportunity to view them
The gender inequities in sport lead to young girls not having proper role models in sports and this is a main factor that we see adolescent girls dropping out of sport at young ages. If our sporting systems had equal pay and equal coverage, we would see a boom in female grass root and competitive participation for girls of all ages as these young girls could see female athletes succeeding and develop positive role models in sport. Currently, young girls are not encouraged as heavily as their male counter parts to participate in sport, as being a female athlete is not currently a viable career path due to the wage gap. Many families believe sport is not important for young girls as they are most likely unfamiliar with female sport themselves, as they are not often exposed to it. If a young girl or her parents believes she cannot make a future out of something she loves, the likelihood of her continuing is very slim and she will shift her focus towards activities that are more beneficial for her future.