Inequality in Women’s Sports

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Inequality in Women’s Sports

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To begin, I will start by saying I am biased. I just wanted to put that out there from the get go, so everyone knows I have a sister on the Haslett High School Varsity Basketball team.

Being the 21st century, most people believe women are getting more recognition and more equal opportunities with men. 

And yet, that is not the case.

I have realized this fact through the girls basketball team’s journey to making it to the final four in the Class B State of Michigan tournament. In the history of Haslett girls basketball, this has been achieved only two other times: 1995 and 2015.

This achievement is made even bigger  because this team was doubted. The squad was underrated the whole season. The girls were ranked below Fowlerville and Okemos high schools, despite blowing out those teams every time they faced off.

The girls have battled several injuries and it is the first season back since their head coach Ross Baker was diagnosed with cancer last year.

They have battled many levels of adversity and have pulled through as the underdogs.

Even with such a “miracle” season, the girls aren’t getting enough recognition. Each game it seems fewer people are showing up. The boys basketball team’s semi-final game was in Chelsea, just over an hour away. The whole student section was full and booming with loud cheers.

The girls semi final game was in our backyard, Fowlerville. The school is a mere 27 minutes away, driving the speed limit and there was maybe one-quarter of the amount of people in the student section than at Chelsea for the boys game.

Do the players really need to be male for people to show up to watch games? What is with this huge attendance gap for guys and girls games? Is it something to do with testosterone?  Does it make games somehow less exciting to have women instead of men?

I’ll let you ponder my questions.

With such a huge season as the girls are having, the student newspaper (of which I am a part) would be all over covering the historic run. You would think we’d drop everything and dedicate a huge portion of the paper to the tremendous event.

I am here to tell you, No. The girls basketball team’s semi-finals appearance – and hopefully championship win – will be sharing the the front page with a spring break graphic, and a wishy washy one at that.

Let me put this hypothetical situation in your head: The boys basketball team is near the championship, the same situation the girls are in right now. Wouldn’t the entire newspaper would be dedicated to the team? Many stories that are in the way of the boys basketball coverage would be dropped and switched out.

A USC study of news media has found that the coverage of women’s sports has stayed about the same in the past quarter-century, despite the huge increase in women playing sports.

While at the same time, men’s sports coverage of football, baseball, and basketball has significantly increased. The study found broadcasters devoted 74.5 percent to those three sports.

As the year 2020 approaches, we were expected to have flying cars and smart homes. But women will still be fighting for equality, especially in sports.

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