Women’s sports deserve to be more recognized

Women’s sports have come a long way, but the media is still behind — leaving female athletes in the dark.

There were 376 stories covering men’s sports and only 13 segments covering women’s sports on “SportsCenter”— a daily sports news television program, according to the Huffington Post.  Why was there a great difference in the amount of stories aired?

This gives the wrong message to women, telling them that they are not as important as men in sports or even less deserving. It’s not okay.

There has been a huge increase in the amount of women playing sports, especially at the college level — rising by more than 600 percent according to MotherJones, but the media has not been keeping up. If anything, coverage on women’s sports has declined. The number of women’s sports broadcasted dropped from 6.3 percent to 1.6 percent between 2004 and 2008, according to the University of Southern California Center. Why is coverage only getting worse?

It is an ongoing cycle: women’s sports are not aired on T.V., so they receive less views. However, people claim to not watch women’s sports because they are not aired on T.V.   

In the sports industry, men are more congratulated in their achievements than women. When Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University became the coach and had the most wins in NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball history with 903 victories, commentators were comparing him to historically successful coaches. In contrast, head basketball coach Pat Summitt, who had more than 1,000 wins at the University of Tennessee and eight national titles, was not nearly focused on as much as Krzyzewski. Commenters were negligent is mentioning her achievements.

Were her achievements any less deserved? Of course not. Both coaches worked hard, yet Krzyzewski was mainly recognized for the job.  

The same thing is happening at our school. In the sports segments on RUTV, the boys teams are aired much more than the girls teams. For instance, the boys basketball team was aired for about three minutes while girls were not mentioned from the broadcast on Jan. 26, 2018.

In addition to hardly ever showing footage of the girls’ teams, the female athletes are rarely ever bothered to be interviewed at all — why? Did they work any less or are their wins any less earned?

With the broadcast airing on Feb. 9, 2018, it covered rugby, boys basketball, boys soccer and girls’ water polo. See the problem? If the lack of coverage of women’s sports starts when we’re young, then these trends will continue on larger broadcasting networks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the girls team should be more aired or more appreciated than the boys team, but what does this tell our female athletes when RUTV only cares to catch up and interview with the players on the boys team?

Since women’s sports are not as publized, it is harder for younger female athletes to have role models. About seven out of 10 girls who quit sports during puberty claimed that “they didn’t feel like they belonged in sports,” and 67 percent claimed that society does not encourage them to play sports according to CNN.

How can young girls be expected to confidently stay in sports when they feel detached from sports within society? The Women’s Sports Foundation records girls dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys.

An increase in the coverage of women’s sports in the media may show young girls that they don’t need to quit sports to adjust within society, but that society can adjust itself.

To make things worse, women have a huge disadvantage when it comes to opportunities and salaries in sports. The average salary for a WNBA player is $72,000 while the average salary of an NBA player is about five million dollars — about 70 times of what a female basketball player makes.

Not only are women paid less, but even have 63,000 fewer participation slots than men at the college level according to CNN. How is this imbalance in opportunities and salaries occuring or even acceptable? Sadly, these facts keep discouraging women in sports — making the situation worse.  

The root of the problem can arguably be connected back to the little amount of media coverage on women’s sports, even at the high school level. Women’s sports should be more appreciated and aired at our school and everywhere rather than continuing to come in second. Female athletes need to know that their work is not any less appreciated, but that the media is the problem.