Women in Sports By: Abby Paff

Female athletes are all over the world today, and children often look up to them and aspire to be as good as them in the future. The practice of sports today provides women with a healthy lifestyle, skills in leadership, as well as managing different situations in today’s society.   Men’s sports are given more attention and praise; leaving women’s sports to not receive as much recognition and credit as they deserve. Every athlete deserves to be treated the same and given respect from everyone. Some people may think that women’s sports are just as exciting as men’s sports, and it is unfair the amount of credit that females do not receive. Serval female athletes such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Serena Williams, and Hayley Wickenheiser have all made a huge difference in women’s sports. Female athletes often feel discriminated against by men; however, they have made significant contributions in sports over the years.

There are many female athletes who have impacted and contributed to women’s sports today. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Serena Williams, and Hayley Wickenheiser are very successful athletes, some being Olympic medalists and some being the best players in their sport. One significant female athlete is Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who runs track and field, and has competed in four Olympic Games for the United States from 1984 to 1996. She has earned a considerable amount of medals in both women’s heptathlon and women’s long jump, totaling three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. Another significant female athlete is Serena Williams, who is a famous tennis player, considered by many to be the best tennis player of all time. She was ranked number 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association for the first time on July 8, 2002, and she has achieved this ranking six times since then. Also in 2013, she became the oldest number 1 player in WTA history. The final significant female athlete is Hayley Wickenheiser, who is a female hockey player and considered one of the best in the world today. She believes that doing drills and training hard is what made her an outstanding player. She is known as a cooperative team player and an outstanding role model for girls. Not only have all of these females became great athletes, they are very successful at being positive leaders and role models for children all over the world today.

Women in sports often do not receive as much credit and recognition as they deserve. Male sports tend to receive more attention than women’s sports. Wendy Smith, athletic director at Seton High School, played volleyball and basketball at Seton from 1986 to 1990 and to continued her volleyball career in college. Smith says, “I would just support each other and be true to yourself and your team and have faith in your abilities and your teammates abilities and work to the best of your potential.” Smith believes that if female athletes encourage each other and work hard they will have a better chance at success. One example that shows female sports being discriminated against by males is, when Smith won a State Volleyball Championship in 1988 for Seton, the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer had Elder High School winning a Football playoff game and Seton Volleyball was in the back of the newspaper with a tiny article. Smith exclaims, “At Mount St. Joseph University around 1993, they were trying to add more male sports such as wrestling and football. At the time, there was a female Athletic Director, and the college board felt as if they needed a male leader, so Mount St. Joseph University fired the female Athletic Director and hired a male one, which turned into a huge controversy.” Smith explained well, yet another example of female sports being discriminated against by males. Head Basketball Coach for Elder High School, Joe Schoenfeld, says, “Cincinnati in particular seems to really value high school sports of all kinds more than most cities. The GCL and GGCL are each widely known as being one of the top leagues in the state and country. While both are outstanding leagues, I think male sports generally do receive more attention. Certainly, the atmosphere at a Seton-Mercy volleyball match is just as good as an Elder-St. X basketball game. So I don’t think it is an atmosphere or level of play issue; I think it is a cultural thing.” Schoenfeld believes that women’s sports are an encouraging way to learn more about yourself and others. The characteristics that make a person successful in sports, carry over to help female athletes become successful in school and life.

Women’s sports make females today feel very empowered and strong. Men’s sports are given so much credit and praise, giving women’s sports less recognition and credit then they deserve. Female athletes such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Serena Williams, and Hayley Wickenheiser have all made a significant difference in women’s sports over the years. It has been made clear that discrimination is a cultural issue in today’s society, and hopefully one day women will receive the attention they deserve in sports. Female athletes often feel very discriminated against by men; however, they have made significant contributions in sports over the years.

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