Tag Archives: Dawn Ellerbe

Women in Sports: Inclusion or Intrusion

More women are participating in sports today, from youth to pro athletics, but you wouldn’t exactly know that by watching television. A USC study shows that in 1989, five percent of television news media covered female athletics, but in 2014 the percentage had decreased to three percent, and the representation of women in sports media lacks substance as well.

“The number of girls or women [who are] participating in sports in the United States is some 40 percent,” said CSUN Professor of Kinesiology Chris Bolsmann, “so if we’ve got only four percent coverage, for me it suggests what is taking place is just a replication of inequality within society. Sport is an interesting vehicle or lense to look at society. If we look at the patriarchal nature of our society, and more recently the misogynistic nature of our society, that is a reflection of that more generally.”

Title IX is the federal law within the Education Act of 1972 that gave way for equal opportunity, protection from discrimination based on sex, and protection of benefits based on sex. Since its passage, the United States has seen a rapid increase in women’s participation in sports. That increase in women’s participation in sports, from the youth level to pro, hasn’t led to an increase in women’s sports coverage, but it has been extremely beneficial for giving opportunities to women within athletics within the last 40 years.

“Sometimes change requires law, and sometimes change requires some enforcement,” said CSUN’s Associate Athletics Director of Marketing Dawn Ellerbe,” because even now, in 2016, every university, high school, and junior high hasn’t embraced the equal play for women. Without [Title IX], I don’t think we would have seen the rise in women’s sports.”

 The future of women’s sports might very well be the inclusion and integration of the best women within athletics competing with and against men. From real life representations like Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis, to dramatized versions for Hollywood like Fox’s Pitch, maybe more and more women within predominantly male sports will become more accepted.

“The question we should possibly be asking is, ‘Why do we have gendered sports in the first place?’” Bolsmann asked. “Should we not be talking about having not-gendered sports, so if somebody is good enough, without respect to if they are male or female, they can play on a team? If we have a level playing field of some sorts and open it up to competition on the basis of being a human, rather than being a man or a women, we could move into some interesting spaces and interesting discussions more generally.”

Moderator: Alicia Dieguez

Producer: Susana Guzman

Anchor: Jackie Wawee

Social Media Editor: Nick Torres

Reporters:  Alicia Dieguez, Thomas Gallegos, Susana Guzman, Ebony Hardiman, Ke-Alani Sarmiento, Nick Torres and Jackie Wawee

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