[Opinion] Prejudice and sexism prevents female athletes from enjoying their sports


Mariajose Vera

Swimmer Sofia Etchevers finishes one of the last races at the district competition.

Lyla Sachs, Arts & Leisure editor

Prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes and sexism against women in sports are very common in today’s world. A 2015 study in Great Britain determined that 40% of elite sportswomen encountered sexism within the field. Sexism, a prejudice against someone due to their gender, is an ongoing issue in many work and sports-related environments.

Even the most accomplished and successful female athletes have fallen victim to sexist people. A prominent example of this would be the National Basketball Association (NBA) as they have 19.2 million more views than the Women’s Nationa Basketball Association (WNBA).

Female athletes are seen by many people as jokes or less than. Rules that apply to men’s sports are often changed because people don’t think women can handle the harsh and rough game.

For example, “checking” in lacrosse, which consists of hitting someone else’s stick with your own to get the ball, is illegal in women’s sports while it’s encouraged in men’s. Tackling and hitting in other sports, such as football, also fall in the same circumstances.

Additionally, women’s sports are sexualized by men and even other women. For example, women are often objectified and put into short and small uniforms to please the viewers. Women’s lacrosse uniforms consist of a skirt, shirt and goggles that only protect the eyes.

Women are forced to run, throw and compete in skirts, while men are allowed and expected to wear comfortable shorts. Men are also expected to wear a full helmet to protect their head, meaning lacrosse games are altered to be less rough for women.

In addition to varying uniforms, unfair penalties often serve as another point of sexism in sports. Code violations are often set to target women.

For instance, professional tennis player Alize Cornet was given a penalty for fixing her shirt, while male tennis star Juan Martin fixed his shirt 11 times without being given a violation. The rules state that females are not permitted to change their shirt during a game, yet men are allowed to do so with no explanation why.

The male community teams in Parkland are also given more attention. Money is spent on new uniforms for the boys and trips to out-of-town games. While boys have the opportunity to go to nationals in California, the female teams do not have nationals to compete for because there are no nationals for girls.

Females have been mistreated in sports for years due to their gender. Society allows sexism and shows how women are treated in and out of sports. As a result of sexism, young girls could be discouraged from participating in something they truly love.The solution to this is to encourage women in sports and show them the same respect given to male athletes.