Women Athletes: Are They Treated Fairly?
According to Wulf (1997), in 1972 there were only 31,000 women participating in intercollegiate athletics. Now there are more than 120,000 female athletes in the nation's colleges' (79). This is a dramatic increase in females participating in athletics. The increase, though, doesn't mean that women are getting more athletic money. In 1978, the federal government issued a law called Title IX that prohibits colleges and universities from discriminating against female athletics. Today, more females are getting money, but there is still a gap between female and male athletic money. Although there is a law that prohibits discrimination, female athletics still gets less money, fewer sports, and not enough fans.
As a female athlete I see discrimination first hand. When I started to look at colleges the first thing I looked at was cost of schools. One school that I spoke to said they would love to give me athletic money but couldn't because they were not given any athletic money to give out. Now this is unfair when the school's baseball team had 15 men on athletic scholarship. According to Holland (1997), for every dollar spent on women athletics you see two dollars spent on men's athletics. This statistic shows that the men's sports always have to be higher than the female sports. According to Lee (1997), in 1996 $180 million was available to women and double that amount for men. All these numbers show that females are clearly given less money than men to participate in sports. Although there is a law that requires schools to have gender equity, there is still more that needs to be done to help improve the school system. Even though there are less female sports at some schools less money is spent on female sports.
Most colleges and universities have more male sports than female sports. Wulf (1997) states that females are only offered 7.5 teams per college. Most colleges offer males at least 15 sports to choose from. There are not a lot of school out there that offer the same sports for boys and girls. It is unfair to think that a female can not play the same sport as a male. Females are capable of playing male sports. This was proved in the in the 1996 Olympics. The U.S. women won gold medals in basketball, soccer and softball. The U.S. Olympics was a big stepping stone for people to realize that women can play sports too.
Several people feel that women can not play sports so they do not come out and support their school teams. Females' sports do not have as nice of facilities as the males' sports because they have fewer fans. Coming out and watching women's sports helps raise money for these women to get locker rooms, weight rooms, and better playing fields. I can say from experience that fans do not come out and watch girls play. When I go to watch my school's guy basketball team I can never get a seat, but when I go to the girls' game there is hardly anyone there. Why is that? It is like this for most sports at my school. If people come out and support all sports teams, they would make their school a better one.
Women are slowly beginning to be recognized as people who can play sports to. Title IX has been around for over 25 years and "…the law has a long way to go in eliminating the gaps between men's and women's sports (Holland, 1997). If this world would realize that women could play sports too we would not have to worry about making laws to protect women. In the future, every school should have the same sport offered for both males and females, with the exception of football. This would help to close the gender gap tremendously. Playing sports for females can help to have better people in this world. According to Holland (1997), studies show that girls who play sports have better self-esteem, more likely to graduate high school, in better health, and have a lower rate of teen pregnancy.