Women Treated Differently in Sports

A common stereotype in the sports community is that women’s sports are inferior to men’s sports. Sporting environments have degraded female athletes by constantly holding them to a lower standard than male athletes. They are more likely to be objectified, shamed, and paid less because of another stereotype that men are more athletically gifted.

Realizing the built-in microaggression towards women will allow society to change for the better and we could finally get rid of gender inequality.

Compared to some sports, male and female athletes are definitely portrayed differently, especially in what they wear. A great sport to compare is football. Although it is considered to be a predominantly male sport, many women do play professional football. Male athletes usually wear gear and padding to help prevent injury. While women’s football, they tend to wear a little more revealing uniforms with not as much protection or padding. It’s confusing because it’s the same sport that could cause the same amount of injury; however, because they’re a different gender, they have to dress differently. It seems to appear that the audience is focusing more on the way they look, instead of how much talent female athletes have. This could cause many female athletes to develop eating disorders because they focus more on how they look instead of how they perform. Eating disorders could affect an athlete’s performance and they’re more likely to be prone to injury. Injuries could also be more difficult to recover from because they could be lacking nutrients from food. Obviously, the physique is very important in both male and female sports, but physical and mental health helps sustain a healthy body. Objectification of women happens in many other sports, such as tennis, volleyball, cheerleading, ice skating, etc. Men and women shouldn’t have to dress according to their gender. They should wear according to how intense the sport is.

Stereotypes, social constructs, and gender roles are restricting our younger generation from being who they want to be.

— Mariam Alashmawi

In sports, women don’t get as much respect as men do. This has to do with the normalization of stereotypes that are in the sports industry. Many female athletes have to deal with more microaggressions and discrimination than male athletes do. Also, only 40% of sports participants are women and only 4% of women’s sports have sports media coverage. This could be discouraging to young girls who aspire to be an athlete but not having any role models to look up to. Because of this teenage girls are 2 times more likely to drop out of sports than boys. Having as much media coverage as male athletes would encourage them to stay in sports. Not only does our younger generation have less female athlete role models, but some also lack opportunity and lack experience because funds usually go to boys’ sports and/or they live in a poor community they naturally lack resources which makes it difficult for young girls to engage in sports. The social stigma around female athletes also tends to be very negative and stereotypical. The idea that girls are supposed to be quiet, obedient, feminine, care-givers, and nurturers is absolutely ridiculous. For years, sports have been considered a “masculine” thing. However, once a girl challenges and confronts the idea, she’s questioned for not being “ladylike.” They’re questioned about their gender identity and sexual orientation because of these stereotypes. Sports shouldn’t be labeled as masculine or feminine. If a girl wants to play football, let her play football. It goes the same for boys that prefer ballet over other sports. Stereotypes, social constructs, and gender roles are restricting our younger generation from being who they want to be.

Female athletes that work just as hard as male athletes should be getting paid as much as them and they should also have just as much media coverage.

— Mariam Alashmawi

Gender inequality feeds into a major issue in the U.S today, the wage gap and income inequality. Comparatively, many female athletes make far less money than male athletes. For example, Sue Bird who has played 17 seasons in the WNBA and won 4 WNBA Championships, had a 2020 salary of $215,000 and gets an $11,356 bonus for winning the 2020 finals. LeBron James has also played 17 seasons in the NBA and has also won 4 NBA Championships, however, his 2020 salary is $37.44 million and gets a $317,000 bonus for winning the 2020 finals. There is a huge gap in wealth, although they have accomplished the same level of achievement. This feeds into the fact that women don’t get as much media coverage and they don’t get the respect they deserve. Female athletes that work just as hard as male athletes should be getting paid as much as them and they should also have just as much media coverage.

Some people have become so compliant to their gender roles that they don’t realize how sexist the world really is. It is especially important to realize sexism in sports because many athletes that make it big are going to be role models for the younger generation. The sexist stereotypes are going to make younger people rebel against the stereotypes. The fact of the matter is women are treated differently in sports. They get objectified more often, they get disrespected more often, and they don’t get paid as male athletes. Women’s sports are just as important as male sports.