Are Women Athletes Getting Their Fair Shake?

By Antoinette Mullins














Women have come a long way in sports. There was a time where a female athlete was almost unheard of and sports involvement was a dream that young girls could never pursue. Today however, women participate in every sport, including basketball, soccer and even football. Despite this, professional female athletetics do not receive the same dues as male sports players.

The evening news during a sports break is a perfect example of this. Female leagues get less than thirty seconds of coverage. "I never see many female leagues, so I didn't think some of them existed," explains 16 year-old Katerina. "They don't get that much coverageŠIt seems that male sports players get a lot more and its wrong." The lack of coverage can also be seen in newspapers. In sports sections of newspapers, females do not get as nearly as many headlines as males, unless it is a big event such as the U.S. Open. More deeply, this discrimination runs in salaries.

It seems that every male sports player receives more attention and a larger salary than any female player. "Male athletics definitely get paid more than females," 20 year-old Woody explains. "I believe it has a lot to do with the ratings female leagues get. I think that the male leagues get a lot more ratings and there is a bigger audience that comes to their games. That is why male players get paid a lot more." However, even through the WNBA ratings started off slow, they are now equal to the ratings of an average NHL telecast. The draw they do bring is an accomplishment itself since in order to see a WNBA broadcast most of the time cable is needed.

"You have to flip through the channels a lot," Katerina explains. "It makes it seems that there are not a lot of games involving females." On the other hand, almost all of the NBA and NFL games can be viewed on network television. Despite the facts behind the WNBA ratings, their salaries are much less than a regular NBA player or many of the other male leagues. WNBA salaries range from $25, 000 to $65, 000, which is only a small fraction of the million dollar salaries of many NBA players.

Excluding a few sports, such as tennis and gymnastics, low salaries and unequal publicity are some of the problems that many professional female athletes face. Female athletetics not being raised to as equal level as their male counterparts is not only a problem in professional sports, but it also plagues high school sports. "Where I went to school, there were not even any female teams or at least I never heard about them," Woody says on the topic. This proves that the lack of attention do not only occurs in professional female leagues, but it is also not unusual for high school female teams to get the same kind of mistreatment.

It is clear that many female athletes, whether they are professional or not, do not get the money or the attention that they deserve. However there is a silver lining in this subject. Recently,the new female soccer league, the WUSA, is actually getting paid equal to the leading men's soccer league. Any woman who enters the league is promised the minimum salary of $25,000, which is slightly higher than the MSL's minimum, the leading male soccer league.


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