A Colgate student-athlete’s perspective on gender inequity in athletics by Taryn Tomczyk ’16

Recently, I came across a foundation that advocates for women athletes and brings attention to an array of different issues and inequities in both collegiate and professional sports. As a woman athlete at Colgate University, I think it is great to see this kind of support for women athletics. On the other hand, it is disheartening that gender inequity still exists throughout the collegiate and professional realm of athletics. With that being said, it is important to bring awareness to these issues in order to fix them. The Women’s Sports Foundation does just that—not only do they shine a light on the inequities that exist, but they also suggest ways in which we can better advocate for women athletes.

The Women’ Sports Foundation website gives statistics showing the disparities between men and women athletics. Women’s teams receive 38 percent of college sport operating dollars, and 33 percent of recruitment spending money. They also receive only 45 percent of athletic scholarship; the other 55 percent is allocated to their male counterparts. This pattern of inequity continues in the professional world as well. The prize money for the PGA tour is 250 million dollars, while the prize money of the LGPA tour is 50 million dollars—a 200 million dollar discrepancy. For finishing 3rd in the World Cup, the women’s national soccer team was awarded 25,000 dollars, while the men’s national soccer team was awarded a bigger prize of 200,000 dollars for reaching only the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Even though the foundation calls attention to these unfair statistics, they also acknowledge that there have been steps taken towards equality. For example, in 2007 Wimbledon announced that both male and female athletes would receive the same prize money. Following in Wimbledon’s footsteps, all four grand slam tennis events began to offer the same prize money to both men and women winners. In addition, Jelena Prokopcuko, a woman runner, won the New York City marathon two years in a row. She took home the largest prize in marathon history both years. Although inequity still exists, this shows that equity is still achievable encouraging the future participation of women in athletics.

Reflecting on my own experience as a Colgate women’s soccer player, I have been blessed with a great support system—coaches, athletic directors, faculty, friends, and family. However, I think there is always room for improvement. There are simple things we can all do to better support women athletics here at Colgate even if that means just attending a game. Something as simple as that can make a big difference and I assure you will be much appreciated by your fellow Colgate women athletes. The foundation further suggests that we support companies that advocate for women athletes, encourage television stations and newspapers to cover women sports, or even sign up to coach a girl’s team.

Here is the link for the foundation: http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/research/articles-and-reports/equity-issues/pay-inequity.

If you want to learn more about women athletes or even become an advocate check it out!

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