Gender Inequality in Basketball

It’s nearing the end of the fourth quarter of the girls varsity basketball game when the seats begin to fill. Not to support them, but to get a good seat for the boys game which follows. Despite the girls varsity team’s MCAL record being substantially better than boys this year and in years past, more fans come to the boys’ games than girls’ games. As a female basketball player, I am aware of this prevalent inequality. Fan attendance based on gender removes the sense of community in our athletics.

I mean who has put more celebratory banners up on the wall recently? Since 2016 there have been six girls basketball banners placed on the wall while the boys only have two.

I’ve also always wondered why the JV basketball cheer team cheers for varsity girls basketball while the varsity basketball cheer team cheers for the boys varsity games. So I asked the varsity cheer coach herself for her opinions. Instead of responding she asked the athletic director to speak on her behalf and was ‘uncomfortable’ answering because she felt insulted by the question. He explained to me that it’s just the way it’s always been. This is not a good enough answer to this question. Just because it has been that way in the past doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t change and this lack of urgency for change is discouraging.

Thisissue isn’t just in San Marin but in our society nationally. The actions from our school seem to be mirrored from the WNBA who notoriously has difficulty maintaining equality compared to the NBA. For example, in 2022 the All Star MVP trophies for the leagues had a shocking difference in size. For reference, the mens’ trophy was four times bigger than the womens’ which was no larger than an actual basketball. 

The trophy is an embarrassment to women’s sports and questions what the organization is expressing towards its audiences. This award implies that girls are as tiny and delicate as the trophy itself.

Another well-known struggle of female athletes is the ability to sustain a stable salary. Women are paid an insufficient amount compared to men; no WNBA player makes more than 300k a year while the average NBA player exceeds 5 million. The lack of fan participation and television accessibility for WNBA contributes to their overall inability to sufficiently pay their athletes.

Even in San Marin’s student section, fan participation plays an important role in games. Our community needs to have pride for all of our sports despite gender. Little girls shouldn’t grow up in a world that perceives women’s sports this way.

This cannot be just the way it’s always been.

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