Thirty-five years after Congress passed Title IX, the landmark federal law requiring gender equity in scholastic athletics, the percentage of women's teams coached by women is at its lowest point ever.
More men also are coaching women's teams than at any other time in history, and the average salaries for coaches of women's teams still trail those of coaches for men's teams, according to an Associated Press review of statistics provided by the NCAA and other groups.
It's easy to get caught on either side of the dichotomy of: women have come a long way or that women still have a long way to go in the eyes of equality. But I don't think those two options are mutually exclusive. I think both statements are accurate. What do you think?
I agree that we have come along way, but there is still a huge gap between women and men, especially in athletics. We are still so far behind that we look at the percentage of men coaching women's sports as a reference point. The question of women coaching men's sports does not even come to mind. Title IX was originally intended to reduce the gender gap in all aspects of federally funded educational institutions (academics, scholarships, athletics, etc..) It has become most newsworthy in the area of athletics, however. I think it comes down to money, at this point. Men's sports draw more revenue than women's sports. Popular culture is centered around men's sports, so for now, they hold the cards. Would you rather see a LA Lakers game or a LA Sparks game?
I agree. We've come a long way and still have a long way to go--in equality in general, not just athletics. I feel like that was the bottom line of almost any discussion that ever took place in my Women's Studies classes.
I often think about what can be done to change the situation that you mentioned, "Men's sports draw more revenue than women's sports. Popular culture is centered around men's sports, so for now, they hold the cards." It's a catch-22... Women's sports will not be on television nearly as much because they don't draw as much revenue. But how will interest level rise and more money be made unless women's sports are on television more to create more exposure?
I wish I knew the answer. What sells in the media is controversy. For example, the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup received more media attention for Brandi Chastain's sports bra exposing celebration after she scored the winning goal, than the sports event. I was sorry that she got raked over the coals for such an innocent act of celebration (yet another example of gender inequality); however, I was glad to see women's soccer gain some exposure. no pun intended.
Yeah, it was most certainly strange how much controversy there was over it. Especially considering that many women go on runs and compete in shorts and a sports bra. Similarly, women wear just about the same exact thing to go swimming and it's totally acceptable.
Your point made me think of blog entry about a technical foul Candace Parker received last season. Parker stole the basketball and jammed it with one hand at the other end of a fast break with 12:56 left in the first half of the Lady Vols game against West Virginia. Parker finished by popping her jersey. That led officials to confer with each other, and a technical was called.
I can't help but thinking how many male college basketball players dunk the ball and then showboat afterwards, playing to the cameras--not only not getting called for technicals, but being admired as superior athletes.
But back to the "how far we've come!" Check out some of the most influential events in sports history and the women that have impacted equality the most.