Down to the Wire: The Need To Recognize Women in Sports, Now More than Ever


It’s no secret that society champions the male athlete over all else – greats like Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, and LeBron James are routinely placed on a pedestal and favored like no other. Society believes men are simply stronger, faster, and therefore more deserving to play sports in the public sphere as opposed to women.

However, women’s sports deserve just as much recognition as men’s sports as they are currently not given the same opportunities to flourish as men are.

A prime example of this is how women’s sports aren’t marketed properly to give them the best exposure.

Anya Alvarez of The Guardian presents WNBA player Elena Delle Donne’s opinion perfectly: “‘When you put millions of dollars into marketing athletes and allowing fans to get to know a player, they develop a connection with someone…and continue to want to see/learn more. How is anyone going to get to know me or any of my colleagues if we aren’t marketed as much?’”

As a female athlete myself, it’s utterly disappointing to see this lack of coverage on major news channels. I keep up with women’s sports through various social media accounts and following multiple leagues, whether it be the NWSL, the WNBA, or others; however, if you aren’t dedicated to actively seeking out these games or athletes, it’s incredibly difficult to find them on major television networks versus any men’s game.

And even when women’s sports stories are covered, a 2019 USC study found that these rare broadcasts are typically overshadowed by numerous longer men’s stories both before and after the ‘one and done’ smaller stories featuring women.

One way to circumvent this prevalent issue is normalizing women’s involvement in sports to increase viewership and engagement. Whether it be as a player, an official, or even a trainer, women need to be actively participating in all facets of athletics.

According to Global Web Index, some sports have started to involve more women at every level. Female referees are officiating men’s World Cup finals, and motorsport races have women engineers, decision-makers, analysts, and members of the pit crew.

It’s no secret that athletics are still heavily male-dominated, and it will take years for this majority to shift. With the presence of women in athletics, it benefits everyone’s experience because there is an increase in competition, guidance, and assistance, whether that be on the field, on the sidelines, or in the press box.

It’s not enough for the composition of the workplace to change; we also must change the culture in sports departments.

Shira Springer of Nieman Reports discovered how women’s sports coverage focuses on a woman’s attractiveness rather than her athleticism through a practice called ‘gender-based sexism,’ lessening the importance of female athletes’ big wins or achievements.

A woman’s sexuality and attractiveness have no bearing on how well she can perform in her sport, and it is dehumanizing to have your achievements downplayed or only talked about due to your looks.

Success of male athletes is never argued as a result of their physical features, so why are many sports commentators still choosing to perpetuate this negative mindset towards female athletes?

A 2019 USC study recognized that “men’s sports are the appetizer, the main course, and the dessert, and… any mention of women’s sports comes across as begrudging ‘eat your vegetables.’”

Female athletes are performing incredible feats daily with less favorable coverage or recognition. This, coupled with preconceived notions about how a woman should behave in the public eye, puts more obstacles in their way versus any male athlete – while still having to perform at the same level and to the same high standards of competition.

Proponents of men’s sports may argue that society solely wants news about their favorite men’s players and teams.

However, society hasn’t gotten the opportunity to see these women’s teams in action – when given the chance to do so, they will find that women’s sports are just as deserving of media attention due to their excitement, intensity, and overall quality.

To see that quality for yourself, simply show up and support women’s sports. Treat them with the same respect that you have for your favorite men’s players. It’s about time women took control of the narrative and have their voices accurately represented in the realm of athletics.