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Talk It Out Tuesday Recap: Women and Athletics

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

One thing we love to do at Her Campus Notre Dame is to write it out, and we’ve found a group that loves discussing the same thing: Notre Dames! HCND and Notre Dames are coming together to tell you what our Dames are talking about on campus. Every Tuesday, the Notre Dames get together to discuss a topic pertaining to gender, and HCND will give you the recap of the latest Talk It Out Tuesday.  There is nothing quite like a Dame and that’s why we love thee!

This week’s topic: Women and Athletics- Why does it feel like female athletes and fans are always offsides in the world of sports? This summer, we celebrated the achievements of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, and more! While these ladies have earned trophies and titles, women in sports still have some tough odds to beat. Let’s Talk It Out this week!

The Highlights (All the thoughts below come from the members of Notre Dame)

Women athletes are chronically paid less than men, play in venues that are of a lower quality, and over all, are treated as second-rate athletes.

Who’s to blame? Is it a society that has placed athletes on a pedestal they don’t necessarily deserve? Is it the sponsor companies that are still too slow to supporting women’s sports because they view it as a risky investment? Is it the media companies that disproportionately favor men’s sports over women’s?

Women have made strides in other areas of athletics as well. Becky Hammon became the NBA’s first full-time assistant female coach, Jen Welter is the first female assistant coach for the NFL, and Jessica Mendoza became ESPN’s first female baseball game analyst, to name a few.

However, when will we see the first female head coach for the NFL, for example? And if and when that ever occurred, how would she be treated—by the fans, the team, the media?

In the business world, it’s been studied that when a woman in a powerful job screws up, the company tends to avoid hiring another female to fulfill that job, whereas, when a man screws up in the same position, the company is much more forgiving to that gender. Would this logic apply to a female head coach if she made the wrong call?

And then there’s the female fans. One NPR reporter went as far as saying that the lack of a female fan base is to blame for the second-tier status of women’s sports. Bold move.

As sports fans, women tend to have to prove their team loyalty more so than men. When a woman doesn’t like a sport, it’s because she’s a woman, not because of a genuine disinterest in the sport. However, men face the exact opposite problem—it’s assumed men are avid fans of any and all sports.

To some extent, women athletics should be behind compared to men’s. Title IX is only 40 years old. We’re a society that is growing up and still trying to figure out how to interpret female athletics. Maybe the changing tide for women and athletics is seeing more women take on these jobs in professional athletics. Maybe it’s the hugely popular World Cup Win for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Maybe it’s superstars like Serena Williams being unapologetically herself. And maybe it’s a couple of Dames talking this issue out.

Liked what you heard? Want to be a part of the conversation? Let’s Talk It Out next Tuesday night in the Dooley Room in LaFortune! Stop by anytime from 7 – 9 PM for great snacks and chats, guaranteed.

Images: 1 (provided by Notre Dames), 2, 3

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

(cue typical college student intro) Natalie is a freshman from Notre Dame studying business and journalism.  She is originally from Kansas City, Kansas, aka the land of Oz.  She willingly admits that her inner monologue is narrated by the voice of Kristen Bell, or more commonly recognized as the voice of Gossip Girl (xoxo).  In her spare time in which she is not trying to find a semi-comfortable place to crash for a power nap, she loves to read anything and everything, craft and has the dorm decorations to prove it, plan out her outfits a week in advanced, make coffee runs at any time of day, and last, but never least, hang out with her friends.  She is so lucky to have found a family at Her Campus and finally, Love Thee, HCND!