Western Courier

We still need equality for the sexes

Emma Johnson, Courier Staff

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Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for colleges to discriminate based on sex, not only when it came to admissions but also to collegiate sports. This section of Title IX states, “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.”

This provision opened up a door for female athletes nationwide, but I’m still quick to disagree when hearing the claim that male and female sports are equal.

When it comes to women’s sports, we are still lacking in offering them equal opportunities of pay, equal television coverage and publicity and all around equal opportunities to make their sports into a long-term career.

Let’s begin with pay. According to an article by BBC News, in 2017, out of the top 100 highest paid athletes there was only one on that list that was a woman. Serena Williams earned her spot, she is a four-time Olympic Gold medalist and rated the top female tennis athlete, but somehow, she still only ranked 51 out of 100 for the highest paid athletes.

Now let’s look at general average salaries. The average salary for the NBA is $4,500,000. However, for the WNBA it’s only $76,000. That means when it comes to basketball, professional women’s basketball players are only making around 1.6 percent of what the professional men’s players are making. This is huge in the pay inequality of athletes.

Now let’s take a look at media coverage. I know personally I can name off a much longer list of professional male athletes before I can even struggle to name off about ten professional female athletes. According to research done by the University of Minnesota, 40 percent of all sports athletes are females, however only four percent of all sports media coverage is of women’s sports. Women also do not receive equal publicity when it comes to sport related magazines. According to an article by the Smithsonian, if you eliminate the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, women only appear on less than five percent of the Sports Illustrated covers. Of those covers, only 2.5 percent actually have the woman as the primary image.

Not only are female athletes not getting equal T.V. coverage, they are also much more sexualized than male athletes. Out of the 10 Sports Illustrated covers showing women athletes in 2015, two of them didn’t have any relation to their sport at all and three of them had the woman posing in either a bra or a swimsuit.

With the huge lack of media coverage and the enormous difference in pay, it is much harder for women to turn their passion for their sport into a career. Title IX did wonders at opening up opportunities for female athletes all across the United States, but the inequality between male and female athletics is still in the need of much help.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
We still need equality for the sexes