Despite the progress women have made in sports, it is still to be seen that any women’s sport is as fiercely watched and supported as the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB. Recognizing the leaps and bounds women have made in sports, we must ask, are women truly wanted to be competing in mainstream sports. This article discusses the lack of support women face in sports and our cultural inability to recognize co-ed sports as even a possiblity.
Some interesting excerpts…
It has been 32 years since the feisty feminist King took on an aging Bobby Riggs, won the tennis match and made Neil Armstrong-moonwalk-historic strides for women in sports.
What followed were generations of female athletes who gained Title IX rights to have their own high school and college teams, earn scholarships, garner million-dollar marketing deals, attain Olympic gold-medal fame and have pro careers in women’s leagues.
But while many pro leagues have folded, floundered and faded from their novelty appeal since the 1996 “Summer of Women” Olympic Games, today’s biggest motion and commotion in women’s sports surround the same battles between the sexes that sparked the revolution more than three decades ago.
“We’ll have to see how the women compete, whether they hold their own as athletes. It would be sad if Americans weren’t ready to see co-ed team sports, but we’re a country that doesn’t seem ready to have a female vice president.”
Fortunately, sociology professor Messner said, today’s girls have many options to continue playing sports at the amateur level. The problem lies “when they leave high school, that they become invisible,” said Messner, who co-authored a study with Margaret Carlisle Duncan of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, “Gender in Televised Sports: News and Highlights Shows, 1989-2004,” which concluded that “women’s sports is still largely ignored.”
The study states that men’s sports received 91.4 percent of the airtime in six weeks of early evening and late night TV sports news on three network affiliates. Women’s sports got 6.3 percent and gender-neutral topics, 2.4 percent. In Los Angeles sports news shows, men’s reports outnumbered women’s reports, 9 to 1.
“There is a continuing marginalization, or downright ignoring, of women’s sports by the media,” Messner said. “And a lot of that has to do with the choices that TV producers and newspapers editors keep making, preferring to play it safe rather than lead a gender revolution.”