An Introduction to the Issue of Sexism in Sport
What is it with sports that many people go crazy about it? Sports is one genre of life that everyone can relate to in the field of basketball for example shown that both men and women can participate in a game of basketball. Despite this fact, gender inequalities exist in professional and amateur sports. Gender roles are the result of systematic power imbalances in sports because it is not a gender-neutral industry. It is male-dominated and they get the lion’s share of the funding, support, publicity, and airtime.
Many sports played by women are still seen as inferior to those played by men. Men can make a wealth from playing professional sports. Women have little to no options, as there is few professional women’s team. The NBA and WNBA are examples of professional sport wherein both men and women have their own league. The biggest difference in the leagues is that the NBA players receive extremely larger salary than the women of the WNBA. Main reason for the salary difference is that people are willing to pay a larger amount to see a NBA game. NBA Playoff Sunday ranked number one in the week of May 27 thru June 6 of 2002 under the USA TV Program Rating. This showed that the men’s league gets a higher television rating than the women’s league, and that’s why they get paid more.
According to Angela Caputo of Columbia Chronicle Online, “A majority of WNBA rookies earn about $28,000 per season. Players on this low end of the pay scale take home about $900 per game. More experienced players can earn up to $72,000. The entire WNBA league payroll is $12 million for 2002. The WNBA salary budget is only about half of NBA player Shaquille O’Neal’s $21.5 million annual salary.” Don’t the women play, sweat, and practice as hard as the men? Then they should be getting the same amount of salary, but this is always politically incorrect.
Have you noticed that there are no primetime telecasts featuring WNBA or any other women’s game lately? Well, it is simply because no one watches it. There is also hardly media coverage unless it is a big event such as U.S. Open. Mostly the primetime telecast games are the NBA. Viewers tend to get bored if the game is lacking on aggressiveness. The viewers love to watch the NBA game because it is entertaining. They get to see trash talking, dunking, and especially, misdemeanor behavior. Women, on the other hand, don’t posses the size, strength, aggressiveness, and the leaping ability that men have. Heavy advertising is another reason why many viewers watch NBA over WNBA. Every time you watch television you see a lot of advertisements that are associated with men’s sports, such as Nike and Hanes, which Michael Jordan endorses, Adidas and Sprite, which endorses Kobe Bryant, and Nestle, which Shaq O’Neal endorses.
Since women are perceived as inferior and men as superior, it is causing power imbalances in the gender roles. Women have always been oppressed by the society and it has been going on ever since human life began. Whatever happened to gender equality?