My Voice: Gender Segregation in Sports

   For years, women’s sports have been regarded as inferior to men’s, which has led to the segregation of sports by gender and a gross disparity in salary.

   But, Emilee, you say, men are just biologically stronger. Women can’t play with the big boys. They’ll get hurt.

   First, I’ll admit, bulk up a man and a woman to full capacity and the man will be stronger simply for the fact that men are biologically built to have more muscle mass. However, we don’t live in a world where everyone is completely jacked, so this isn’t nearly as much of a problem as people think.

   For starters, many sports have weight classes, such as MMA, a notoriously violent sport. You fight within your class. That keeps everything fair, right? So if there are weight classes, what is the point of segregation based on gender?

   Furthermore, women can most definitely play against the big boys. Look at Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes.

   Riggs was the top tennis player during the 40s. He ranked as the number one player in the world three times and won six major titles during his career. He retired in 1951, but he continued to promote the sport.

   In 1973, he declared that female tennis players were inferior to men and even at his ripe age of 55, he believed he could still beat any of the top female players.

   Billie Jean King, who was 29 at the time, was the number one female tennis player five years running. She was excellent with a racket, but Riggs refused to acknowledge it. The pair would inevitably face-off on Sept. 20, 1973.

   King solidly beat Riggs in three sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. However, critics still would not admit King was the better player. Many said she won because Riggs was so much older. Others felt that Riggs had purposely thrown the game.

   So, despite women consistently outperforming men in sports, people still refuse to acknowledge that women can play just as well if not better than men.

   The United States Women’s National Team has outperformed the men’s team for decades, but there’s no coverage. The men consistently struggle in international games whereas the women have thrived.

   FIFA has ranked the women as the No. 1 team in the world for nine years. The lowest they have scored is second. The men, however, regularly rank 22nd.

   Despite women dominating the competition, they make considerably less money than men. From BusinessInsider:

   “Members of the women’s team received a $75,000 bonus for winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If the men were to ever win a World Cup, their bonus under the current structure would be more than four times larger at nearly $400,000.”

   So even though women are able to hold their own against men and have even been shown to outplay them, we still don’t give female athletes the respect they deserve. Look at the world around you, and you will see just how great women can be.

Emilee Brewer

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