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Women fight for equality in sports

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

By Claire Chang Nov. 9, 2023


Before the late 19th century, women were only allowed to participate in recreational sports. While Title IX in 1972 banned discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and gave women more opportunities to play sports, their opportunities were still limited. Despite the progress made over the years, women today are still fighting for their equal right to play.


Notably, women’s sports teams have been fighting to close the pay gap. In 2019, the U.S. women’s soccer team generated more revenue than the men’s team, yet the women were only paid one-fourth of what the men were paid. A wage discrimination act was filed against U.S. Soccer, prompting an increase in financial support for the women. The women’s team also filed a lawsuit for unequal marketing exposure, which led to lower attendance rates and fewer sales.


However, women’s sports have been receiving significantly more attention since the start of the 21st century. The teams are receiving more financial support; according to the Washington Post, 90% of the money made from an ad by Ally Financial Inc., a financial services company, will go to women’s professional sports this year. In addition, over two billion fans watched the 2023 Women’s World Cup. With technology, women’s sporting events have gained popularity quickly. ESPN stated the NCAA Women’s Final Four college basketball semifinals had the most viewership this year compared to previous years.


Saachi Basavaraju Art

Regardless, there are still areas for improvement. Formula 1, the most prestigious international motorsport competition, has been facing backlash for not including women. 47 years ago, Lella Lombardi of Italy was the last woman to drive in the Formula 1 Grand Prix. To empower women to race again, Formula 1 started the W Series in 2019, which is an all-female racing championship. However, it collapsed in 2023 due to a lack of funding. Following its collapse, the F1 Academy rose.


Building off the W Series, the F1 Academy aims to provide opportunities for women both on and off of the track. The Academy managing director, Susie Wolff, hopes to see a woman drive in Formula 1 within the next eight to 10 years, but more importantly, wants to inspire future generations of young women to have jobs like a mechanic or an engineer. This year in F1 Academy, each of the five teams will have three cars competing, with a total of 15 drivers who are selected from the less competitive F3 and F2 racing divisions. It is not yet revealed how 10 of these 15 women will be selected to participate in 2024. To advance from F3 is very costly; an F1 car alone can cost 15 million dollars, so the F1 Academy subsidizes each car with a $150,000 budget per season to aid women in their journey to F1, the most competitive division.


“If women had the chance to race in motosports, they could perform just as well or better than men. Based on interviews of Formula 1 women racers that I have watched, they clearly love the sport and should be supported,” Freshman Arhan Koti said.

Saachi Basavaraju Art

Formula 1 is not the only organization increasing the participation of women in traditionally male-dominated sports. On Oct. 5, the WNBA announced that a women’s team would become part of the Golden State Warriors franchise. Compared to the rest of the NBA in 2022, the men’s Warriors team generated the greatest profit, and Joe Lacob, the Golden State Warriors’ chairman, expects the new team to have the most revenue in the women’s league. The money will be used for training facilities, equipment and more that will contribute to the team’s success. Moreover, ESPN suggests that WNBA teams could be expanded to Portland and Toronto in the future.


“The new WNBA team will become successful in the Bay because they are going to be playing at the Chase Center and the Warriors already have such a huge fan base. The success of the WNBA team will lead to more people viewing women’s games and hopefully the WNBA gains more money to expand or pay its players more,” Sophomore Bianca Covarrubias said.

As attention and momentum increases, women’s sports hold a bright future. For one, similarly to what the WNBA has done, the National Women’s Soccer League has established a team based in the Bay Area, the Bay Football Club. It is possible that other sports leagues will follow in promoting the growth of women’s sports. Though women are still combating a long history of inequality, they will hopefully one day have the same opportunities as men to pursue their athletic dreams.

 

About the Contributors


Claire Chang

staff writer


Claire Chang is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer and photo-media team member for The Charger Account. She enjoys painting, listening to music and exercising during her free time.


Saachi Basavaraju

artist


Saachi Basavaraju is a freshman at Leland High School and works as an artist for The Charger Account. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, reading, listening to crime and horror podcasts, and rewatching clips from her favorite movies and shows.

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