When someone tells you they scored tickets to a basketball game, you might ask, “Which team? Warriors? Lakers?” What if your friend shows you tickets to a game between the LA Sparks and The Minnesota Lynx, two of the most prominent WNBA teams?
Unfortunately, most people would respond with “Women’s basketball? Boring. They’re not as good as the men. It’s not even real basketball.” All of these borderline-misogynist assumptions and outlooks have created a schism in basketball and in various other sports coverage in the media.
SportsCenter airs coverage on NBA events regularly, but viewers are lucky to see one WNBA story per day. Why do we still look so highly upon men’s sports over women’s? Perhaps it’s because of the clear monopoly men hold over sports industries and media broadcasting centers.
Recently, the indomitable US women’s soccer team made headlines after speaking about the wage gap between athletes in their sport based on gender. On average, the US women’s soccer stars, who continue to win relentlessly, receive less money for their efforts than the US men’s soccer team, which has continuously put up underwhelming efforts in match play. Along with underrepresented sports like women’s basketball in the media, there’s also unfair pay for female athletes who perform better than the men of their respective sports.
Even at ENC, there is a noticeable difference in support the men’s basketball team receives over the women’s basketball team. On any given men’s basketball game night, fans pack the stands in Lahue Gym, but the women’s team struggles to get those same fans to come support them.
There is no clear logistical reason for this gap in support, other than the assumption that people hold a stigma toward women’s sports. Through this lack of support, we see a clear example of institutional misogyny and gender injustice, and with the social advancements of this day and age, these issues need to be addressed.
I have been to a WNBA game and I can say that it was just as exciting and impressive as any NBA game. I witnessed the US women’s soccer team win multiple championships over the past decade, and it is very clear that they work just as hard as the men—if not harder.
Ridding of this unnecessary gap in sports has the capacity to place another rung in the ladder that leads to gender equality in our great country. Equal pay and representation is required for both male and female athletes, and to speak otherwise implies that women are not equal to men .
In 2016 we need to start asking ourselves if we wish to live in a society where women are treated differently from men and if not then it’s time to act. Even in subjects that seem as frivolous as professional sports, justice can be reached and equality can be achieved.