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Sexism in Sports

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (895 words)
Categories: Sex, Sexism, Sports
Downloads: 42
Views: 27

Throughout the history of sports, female athletes have struggled to gain equality with the male athletes. The men have predominantly had better athletic facilities, more recognition, more airtime on television, etc. Women today are still fighting for as much recognition as the males, and the right to play/help with male sports. The United States tried to help women gain more sports equality with the passage of the Title IX amendment in 1972.

This amendment states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

” However, many women are still victimized and continue to fight for these rights. From the beginning of athletics, women have struggled to gain their right to participate in sports. Countries began to create gender sports- sports such as field hockey, soccer, rugby, and American football, for the men.

While women were excluded from the male sports, they were encouraged to participate in sports such as Swedish gymnastics, dancing, and calisthenics. They were allowed to participate in sports such as basketball, tennis, and badminton as long as they “were played in ladylike fashion” (Hargreaves 1). Women began to grow sick of their unjust treatment and challenged the International Olympic Committee to allow women’s participation (in both female and male sports) in the Olympics.

The president of the IOC responded to their request by saying, “The Olympic Games must be reserved for men and the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism with female applause as reward” ( Hargreaves 2). Nineteen women participated in the Paris Olympics in 1900 in only three sports: tennis, golf, and croquet. Women then decided to create their own Olympics, called the Women’s World Games, in which they participated in eleven highly successful events, every four years, from 1922 to 1934. Finally, in 1928, women were granted the right to compete in a male Olympic sport- five track and field events (Hargreaves 3).

Today women are still criticized for participating in “men’s” sports, and even for helping train men athletes. In 2008, the Indiana High School Athletic Association refused to allow a girl to try out for her high school’s baseball team. After the girl’s team of attorneys threatened to file a sex-discrimination suit, the girl was allowed to try out. The IHSAA also lifted their restriction on girls participation in boys’ basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and wrestling. (Cohen 1). In 1995, Heather Sue Mercer, a placekicker for Duke University’s football team, sued the university for sex discrimination.

Mercer was the starting kicker on the Yorktown Heights high school team which won the 1993 state championship. She tried out for Duke’s team in 1994, but was unsuccessful. However, in 1995, she kicked the winning field goal in Duke’s intrasquad spring game and gained nationwide attention. Mercer accused former Duke coach, Fred Goldsmith, of telling her to “give up the little boys’ sports and try beauty pageants or cheerleading instead” and telling reporters that she was “pretty and looked like Molly Ringwald”.

Goldsmith also made her the first cut in his tenure as head coach, while keeping the male walk on kicker who was not as accomplished, and banned her from the sideline calling her a “distraction” and telling her to “watch the games from the stands with her boyfriend” (Mravic 1). In 2006, a New York Mets broadcaster, Keith Hernandez, noticed a woman in the dugout and said, “Who is the girl in the dugout, with the long hair? What’s going on here? You have got to be kidding me, only player personnel in the dugout. ” The woman happened to be a part of the Padres’ training staff.

Hernandez went on to say, “I will not say women belong in the kitchen, but they do not belong in the dugout. ” (Dalton 1). These are only a few of many examples of the criticism/sexism women experience in athletics even today. Another result of this sexism is lack of participation in women’s/girls’ athletics. In 2008, the Women’s Sports Foundation, along with the Center for Research on Physical Activity at D’Youville College, teamed up to conduct a study based on two nationwide surveys of youth sport participation in the United States.

The results showed that nearly equal percentages of boys and girls currently play organized/team sports in the United States. However, the participation rates varied a great deal by grade level and type of community. In urban communities, the percentage of elementary school girls participating in sports is fifty-nine percent compared to the elementary school boys’ participation being eighty percent. The gap in urban high school students’ participation was wide as well, with girls’ participation being fifty-nine percent and boys’ being sixty-eight percent.

In suburban communities, the participation of girls and boys is nearly equal (Sabo 1). This may be due in part to sexism. In more populated areas, there are more chances for girls to be criticized like the examples given in the previous paragraph. The study concluded that “While more girls participate in sports than ever before in American history, a gender gap stretches across youth sports that favors males over females. The width of the gender gap is not uniform however, and it varies across grade levels, communities, income levels, and racial and ethnic groups. ”

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Sexism in Sports. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sexism-in-sports-new-essay

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