Gender in Sports
Gender in sports has been an issue ever since sports were invented. In the early years, sports were played by the men, and the women were to sit on the sidelines and watch. Things have begun to change in the last century. Women are being allowed to participate now, and women’s teams, events, organizations, and leagues are popping up all over the place. This includes professional leagues such as the WNBA and the LPGA. Women in sports have become a big business.
Women have been participating in professional sports for a long time. They even participated in professional baseball. During World War II while the men were overseas fighting the war against the Nazis, the women entertained the people and played baseball. The Women’s All-American Baseball League was the bright idea of a rich candy bar maker named Walter Harvey.
Recently a major issue for women in sports is female coaches and their salaries. The salaries of male coaches in athletics have continuously been on the rise. The median salary for NCAA Division I Football coaches in 1996 was $268,000. Female participation in College athletics are also on the rise. In 1996, 123,832 women competed in the NCAA. 199,556 men competed in the same year. Yet the majority of funding goes into the men’s athletic programs. And on top of that, the female coaches make $.63 to every dollar that the male coaches make.
Another issue of women in sports is the health risk to the women who compete. Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association released a report at the 1997 Women’s Final Four on the benefits of physical education on the long-term health of women. The key recommendations and conclusions of the report include involvement in sport and physical activity at an early age reduces the likelihood of developing a number of harmful health conditions.
Specific mechanisms that enhance girls’ opportunities to be physically active facilitate both health-related fitness and the acquisition of fundamental motor skills for a lifetime of activity. Involvement in cooperative and competitive activities can improve a girl’s sense of competence and control.
Working and playing with individuals of both sexes allow learning in small, relaxed groups where they know each other. Involvement promotes psychological well-being, improving mental health in ways beyond traditional methods. This article shows us that the physical activities involved with playing sports do not hurt the female players, but in fact, it helps their overall health and conditioning.