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Women’s sports deserve respect

By Kathleen Moore

Associate Editor

Female athletes are undervalued and underpaid.

This problem exists across many different sports - but it shouldn’t be this way. Athletes are important assets to teams and should be treated as such. Female athletes deserve equal pay, respect, and game attendance. They deserve what their male counterparts already have.

Many basketball fans ignore the WNBA - but that’s not the way it should be. WNBA athletes are not treated nearly as fairly as their male counterparts in the NBA. According to NBC Sports, WNBA athletes are paid about $100,000 annually, but NBA athletes are paid over $5 million. WNBA athletes deserve so much better pay.

According to World Sports Network, 15.14 million people watched the 2019 NBA Finals. Only 231,000 people watched WNBA games in 2018. The WNBA does not have nearly as many viewers - on TV and in person - as the NBA.

These female athletes are undervalued and often fall through the cracks.

Additionally, the WNBA has only 12 teams but the NBA has 30 teams, according to NBC Chicago.

Many major cities don’t have a WNBA team. If the league expanded to more cities, more fans would be able to attend women’s basketball games. The WNBA deserves more respect and attendance.

Representation matters for young female athletes.

The WNBA players are not the only underpaid female athletes.

According to The Today Show, the U.S. Women’s National Team has been fighting for equal pay for six years. Soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, as well as other teammates of theirs, began leading the fight for equality between male and female soccer players in the U.S. in 2016. The USWNT won the World Cup in 2015 and earned only $2 million. However, their male counterparts lost and earned $9 million.

Women’s soccer games are not televised as often as men’s soccer. This means less spotlight, less recognition, and less representation for them. In a study reported by Nieman Lab, 80% of sports news and television coverage showed zero women’s sports stories.

As a collegiate student-athlete myself, I know firsthand that women’s sports are often overlooked.

In 2021, it was reported during an NCAA investigation that the organization “prioritizes men’s basketball, contributing to gender inequity,” and “significantly undervaluing women’s basketball as an asset,” according to USA Today. March Madness marketing primarily focuses on male athletes and does not give equal treatment to women’s basketball teams.

Women’s sports teams need to be televised, advertised, and reported on so much more than they currently are. Female athletes also need to be paid more and treated better. They deserve so much more respect than they are currently getting.

TV stations and journalists can start by covering more women’s sporting events. Leagues can start by treating their athletes better and paying them more. More coverage of women’s sports will lead to more fans going to their games in person or watching them on TV.

And FSU students can start by attending women’s basketball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, softball, volleyball, cross country, and track events to support our fellow Lady Rams!


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