The Women’s NCAA Basketball tournament started this week, did you know that? Did you fill out your men’s bracket in hopes of winning the workplace betting pool? Did you make one for the women too? There is a good chance you didn’t, seeing that most of the sporting news was about all the men’s basketball tournament and all the exciting upset games that happened. It’s okay that you didn’t realize that the women are playing too, no one really blames you for not knowing, or really not caring. Why should you care about a tournament played by a bunch of women when the NCAA itself doesn’t even care to be interested.
Surely you have seen the pictures by now, the ones of the temporary weight rooms set up at the men’s and women’s tournament sites. If you haven’t seen them you should look them up, it’s really quite sad, the difference. The men’s looks like a normal college weight facility that was temporarily set up in a large arena. The women’s? Well let’s just say that the yoga mats and hand weights were cute. At least they didn’t paint the weights pink, perhaps that’s when they might have crossed the line into sexism.
But the differences in the tournaments doesn’t stop there. The men received a lot more in their “swag bags” than the women did. But you know women, they don’t want soaps and shampoos in their bag, they are way too particular about their stuff…right?
Quick, name the highest paid athlete in the world? You may not know the answer, but you probably weren’t even thinking of a woman when you were trying to come up with the answer. To help you out, there is not even a woman in the top 20, and there are only 2 in the top 100. Read that again. Out of the Forbes’ top 100 highest paid athletes in the world list, there are only 2 women represented, and those play the only sport that seems to make an effort to equalize pay between the men and the women, tennis.
You know who cares about women’s athletics? Parents. The parents of the girls who are out there working just as hard as the boys. And other women who once were in the place where the current players are now. No one said life was fair, but there is a huge difference between fair and suppression.
Women’s athletics does have its moments. The UNWNT has won the World Cup, and is ranked as the top team in the world. They are an example of what good old fashioned American hard work and determination can achieve. They show the rest of the world that we here in the U.S.A are world beaters. Oh wait, they don’t get paid near as much as the Men’s team who didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. What kind of example is that, that the USA, the “leader” of the free world can’t even do the right thing and pay our women fairly. What does that say about how we treat women here, better yet, what statement does that allow countries that treat women poorly to hear?
But women have the Olympics. One of the most watched sports in the Summer Olympics is women’s gymnastics. You know, the sport that just got headlined for the sexual abuse that was occurring behind closed doors.
We call our women “our Queens”, but isn’t society just trying to quiet women on the way to keeping them pawns? Does society basically give women the bouquet of flowers with the newest “I’m sorry” tag line in hopes that it will be enough? Are we as a society really offering women a seat at the table, or is that seat only reserved for them after they bring us our food from the kitchen?
The problem with women’s athletics is great, but the problem with gender equality is even greater. We can make excuses of revenue and viewership as to why athletic departments some sports over others, and yes, there are some schools where the women’s teams do get the recognition they deserve. But the sad part of that story is the women that play on those sports at those schools will eventually graduate, and get thrown into the working world, where they will be back to being paid less than men.
But the problems with gender equality in the working world is another story, and I don’t have a month worth of time to write it.