Monday, November 12, 2007

Girls in Cleats

A new book by Laura Pappano and Eileen McDonagh, Playing With The Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal, challenges the popular perception that since girls now play soccer, all is now equal when it comes to women and sports.

Says Pappano in an interview at the publisher's website, "The biggest challenge is that women are often afraid to challenge the status quo for fear of losing what “progress” has been made. The problem is that we have codified a system of organized sports which places male athletes at the center and female athletes at the periphery."

And what about Title IX?: "Title IX opened doors for females to play sports, but it opened sex-segregated doors, effectively limiting women’s athletics to second-class status. Title IX never demanded equality - only improvement - and it is not well-enforced and budgets for female sports dwarf spending on men’s sports, particularly football. Ticket prices for women’s events are lower than comparable men’s teams- even when a team (like the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team) far outperforms its male counterpart on the national stage. Publicity, television and print exposure for men’s teams remain the primary focus of college sports offices. This is not fair, particularly at institutions receiving federal funds. We need a wholesale re-thinking of the way organized sports are structured and supported."

(The pic is Zoe Fairlie, daughter of my bestie on the west coast, Rebecca London.)


Anonymous said...

There was a letter to the editor in our local paper not too long ago complaining that girls' sports gets short shrift in the local sports pages. Even when there is a fabulous girls' event, and they win, the paper covers the standard boys event instead. Since then, I have noticed that there has been more coverage. Just another example of gender inequality that is so pervasive, we hardly even notice it.

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