By Ryley Holmes, V Form, and Hannah Macleod, IV Form
Colorblindness To Gender Inequality in the SM Community
Summary: Despite gains made after the passing of Title IX in 1972, gender inequality still exists in school athletic programs. A close look at St. Mark’s athletics program helps suggest the ideas of gender equity in sports.
Key Points:Due to Title IX, Women are unable to be excluded from participating in sports in educational institutions that are federally funded. However, we are socialized and have conformed to the norms that women do not participate in certain sports at St. Mark’s. Sports donors at St. Mark’s are required to donate to both the boys and girls varsity programs for a specific sport, as opposed to a particular gender in that sport to ensure equitable funding. However, those sports that only have one varsity team receive all of the funds for only one program. Men typically specialize in one sport whereas women tend to be members of multiple sports teams. This specialization is geared towards men, for their future income is reliant on playing a professional sport. This specialization is reinforced throughout all of American society.
With the rampant gender inequality in professional sports, tennis could easily be considered one of the least sexist due to its recently equalized prize money. In fact, the World Economic Forum recently wrote that “the Women’s Tennis Association [is] pushing the women’s game and pioneering gender equality” (Edmond). Contrary to public perception, the professional tennis circuit still has to make significant improvements in order to achieve gender equality. The financial distribution still heavily favors men, some of the rules perpetuate sexist values, and unfair stereotyping of female players is frequent.
Despite the fact that prize money became equal in 2007, women still make far less than male players. On the Forbes’ list of top-earning athletes, Serena Williams only comes in 51st, behind five male players, even though she has won more grand slam titles than any player, regardless of gender, in history, and holds endorsements with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, and JPMorganChase (Wang). Williams has earned tens of millions of dollars less than Novak Djokovic even though she has won many more titles than he has (Macur), due to the overall amount of prize money. If Williams, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, can’t achieve equal pay in comparison to her less-winning counterparts, where is the hope for women in less acclaimed positions? By maintaining this inequality, the tennis circuit is discouraging and discrediting the achievements of women in the sport. (more…)
You train three times a week all year. You go to the gym, do the beep test, and run three miles all to prepare for four days of games. You’ve put in work all year, almost 15 hours a week to prepare to play 360 minutes of perfect soccer in four days. Most people would never think of doing something as demanding as this; they might even call it crazy. However, to me this is one of the most exciting times of the year: the US Youth Soccer National Championships. Yes, you miss fun things throughout the year like hanging out with friends on “days off”, not being able to ask anyone to the Sadie’s dance because you have a tournament in Virginia, and people deciding that you don’t want to be invited because, “You always have soccer.” Saying “Sorry, I can’t go, I have soccer” at least 100 times a year gets annoying, but the feeling as the final whistle blows in the final game and knowing that you just became a national champion is worth the travails. (more…)