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There is gender bias and discrimination in sports and the athletic community. More specifically, genders are treated differently when placed in the same situation in sports and the athletic profession. For example, the U.S. Volleyball Association was formed in 1928 for males only. Fifty-eight years later, in 1986, the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Association was formed. In 2012, “Shannon Eastin broke the NFL’s on-field gender barrier … serving as the line judge…”. Shannon Eastin is the first female NFL referee, in 2012, even though the NFL was formed in 1920. Novak Djokovic, the #1 male tennis player, earned $25 million this year, yet Serena Williams, the #1 female tennis player, earned $18.1 million this year. That’s almost a $7 million difference. Another example is from a 2014 study by Sporting Goods Intelligence. The study found that 80% of all decisions made at sporting goods companies are made by men. Only 20% of decisions at the companies are made by females. The Sports Digest also reported on gender bias in sports, saying, “Without the potential prospect of playing professionally, girls devote less time to the sport … further establishing the gender logic … that women are not interested in sports…” This thinking, The Sports Digest says, eventually lowers female athletes’ pay, making a less successful living. This restarts the cycle, not giving females “the potential prospect of playing professionally…”. These examples and pieces of evidence makes it clear that there is gender bias and discrimination in sports.
One problem in sports is that women are not given the same access as men. For example, some sports are not available to female athletes. In the Olympics, 4-person bobsled has been available to men since 1924. There is currently no 4-person bobsled for women. Also in the Olympics, males have a 1500-meter freestyle swimming event. Females, on the other hand, are limited to 800-meters, despite the fact that women excel at long distance swimming. It is also a well-known fact that there are no professional female football players.
This reduced access for women has several negative effects. For example, there’s less representation of female athletes in sports. A research report on gender equity found that from 2009 to 2010, there were 53 high school athletic opportunities per 100 boys and only 41 opportunities per 100 girls. Additionally, there is less representation of women in governing sports bodies. A report by Women on Boards’ showed that only 18% of representation in international sport federations is female. The report also found that from 2014, the percentage of women in Olympic governing bodies did not rise above 30%.
Another problem in sports is the generally unequal media coverage of males and females in sports. Female sports do not receive as much media coverage as male sports, even on the same topics and events. According to a 2010 study, male sports received 96.3% of television airtime between early evening and late at night. Female sports received only 1.6% of airtime. (Gender neutral sport topics received 2.1% of airtime.) The same study found that ESPN’s SportsCenter devoted only 1.4% of its airtime to female sports. That number has actually gone down over time, from 2.2% in 1999, and 2.1% in 2004.
Unequal media coverage has a harmful effect on athletes’ salaries. Because female sports receive less attention, female athletes often make less money than male athletes. In 2015, the U.S. female soccer team earned $2,000,000 for first place in the world cup. In 2014 though, the U.S. male soccer team earned $9,000,000 for eleventh place. Another example of a gender salary gap takes place at Duke University. The university pays their head male basketball coach almost $10,000,000 per year. On the other hand, their head female basketball coach is paid about $730,000 per year. This evidence makes it clear that discrimination in sports has negative effects on many athletes’ lives and success. Title IX is a possible solution to this problem. It is a law that was created to prevent gender bias and discrimination in educational settings, and applies to all aspects in educational settings.
Title IX was signed into effect by President Richard Nixon in 1972, and is still enforced. It was created as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation based on religion, color, gender, race, origin country, and ethnicity in workplaces and in public.) Title IX is meant to prevent gender discrimination in multiple areas, like participation, benefits, and more in educational settings.
Title IX is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. They enforce Title IX through periodic investigations and through reports and complaints filed by people in the setting. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), an institution must meet several requirements to comply with Title IX: provide participation opportunities that are proportional to the rates of students, expand the program and continue the program for the underrepresented gender (whichever it might be), accommodate the interests of the underrepresented gender, and provide equal treatment of male and female athletes. Compliance with Title IX is found through a total assessment of the entire sport (and other) programs. The requirements of Title IX create equity between male and female sports.
Title IX is successful at controlling and getting rid of gender bias and discrimination in sports, but it only applies to educational settings. Because of that, Title IX can’t force gender equality in professional sports.
Title IX is easily enforced and is highly successful at preventing gender discrimination and bias in school and educational sports. It requires equal treatment of all athletes, regardless of gender, and makes sure that all athletes have access to help and equipment. A second solution is the Women’s Sports Foundation. It was created to improve the lives of females through sports and to inspire females to play sports.
Billie Jean King, a champion tennis player, created the foundation with Larry King (a television host), Donna de Varona (an Olympic swimmer), and Suzy Chaffee (an Olympic skier). The Women’s Sport Foundation was created in 1974 to inspire and improve females’ lives through sports. They provide financial aid to many aspiring athletes, fund research projects, and award female athletes that have made changes in the world.
The Women’s Sports Foundation has had many presidents throughout its history. Many popular and influential athletes and celebrities, like Laila Ali, a professional boxer, and Elton John, a singer, have lended the foundation their support. The foundation has also launched multiple programs, such as Sports 4 Life, with espnW as a partner to encourage girls in minority groups to play sports to express themselves. Another program, GoGirlGo, works to improve girls’ health through sports and activity. The foundation has many partners to help fund research, programs, and more.
The Women’s Sports Foundation is successful at improving the lives of females through sports. They advocate for equal treatment, rights, and opportunities for females in the athletic world. Their movement has been moderately successful, but it isn’t permanent, and can’t prevent gender discrimination and bias caused by others.
This solution has given many people opportunities to play sports. It has made a large impact in the problem and has successfully worked to make the world a better place. Title IX is an effective way to prevent gender bias and discrimination in sports. One way it’s successful is by improving school sport opportunities, resulting in more female athletes getting to play. Because of Title IX, there are five times more women playing college-level sports then there were in 1972. Before Title IX, about 3% of girls played varsity high school sports. By 2001, 40% played. Another way Title IX is successful is by making it illegal to prevent females from playing school sports. This allows more students to benefit from sport opportunities, since many students only have access to sports through school. There are many health benefits to sports including delaying heart conditions, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. They also have stronger muscles and higher energy level. Playing sports also directly helps students’ school work. By playing sports, people learn respect, better communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. Title IX has improved sport opportunities for females and allowed more students to reap the benefits of sports.
Many people claim that Title IX has created less sport opportunities for males in the process of making more for females. They believe this because some male sport teams have been dropped to make compliance with Title IX easier. One reason this thinking is wrong is because the team-dropping is the schools’ choice. Title IX compliance depends on proportions. The amount of time, money, and resources spent on both genders needs to be proportional to the amount of athletes. If it isn’t proportional, they can add sport teams (or more resources) to the understated gender. Adding programs costs a lot of money, so many organizations choose to drop teams to save money and to become proportional with the understated gender. Also, variations are allowed in compliance with Title IX. But because some genders, usually males, have more sports available to them, more resources are given to that gender. Sometimes, when it becomes unproportional to the number of athletes, schools drop sports to even out the resources spent on female sports and male sports.
Another reason thinking Title IX harms sport opportunities is wrong is because the schools often drop one sport to make room for another. One example of a sport that is exchanged for a dropped one is football. Football is widely popular, especially in high schools. Football is also expensive, and if it is cut then there is more money available to support other sports and teams of both genders. Thirty-eight years ago, there were 107 male gymnastic teams. In 2003, there were 20. The schools dropped the male teams because A) they needed to even out the male/female sport ratio, B) the gymnastic sport wasn’t making money, and C) the school would rather spend the lost gymnastic money on popular sports. Football is pricey, where it costs about $1,000 to equip one college football player. It only costs about $125 for high quality volleyball equipment. If colleges want more sport teams, they should redirect funds to the sports themselves, instead of spending extra money on unnecessary things, like buying new equipment every year or multiple banners for teams. Title IX does not force male sport opportunities to decrease, but creates equality for men and women in school sports.
Title IX is an effective way to prevent gender discrimination in educational sports. If schools are in compliance with Title IX, then both genders get equal sport opportunities and the benefits of being active. Lawrie Mifflin, the first female sports reporter at the New York Daily News said, “Without question, Title IX has been a central game changer, expanding the numbers of girls and women playing competitive sports. It’s also boots the caliber of women’s training and athletic abilities. Looking back to my years of college … I find it inspiring to see how much progress has been made”. Supporting Title IX also supports equal rights for men and women. Title IX doesn’t allow gender discrimination in educational settings. It’s the most effective way to fight discrimination because it has, and will, improve many lives.
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