Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

A Better Environment for Women Sports Players

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

“My coach said I run like a girl, and I said if he ran a little faster, he could too,” stated Mia Hamm, former professional soccer player.

 Seeing women play a male-dominated sport encourages younger girls to want to play, and it has created a community of those who like playing at all ages.When it comes to the mistreatment of women, sports players in the professional world have made it acceptable to treat any level of player with disrespect. 

This  leaves many players harboring a negative emotional mindset as well as greatly affecting their physical well-being. It may take time for a change to happen, however, it needs to start somewhere. 

A start can be establishing a whistleblower program where players can anonymously come forward with mistreatment they are experiencing within the leagues. Having a program shows the players that the league has their back and allows them to feel comfortable enough to talk against their abusers. 

Whenever players do speak out, they are not backed by the leagues which leads to the players having bad reputations and less opportunities to move up as a player. 

In the article of “Women Soccer Players’ Biggest Challenge is Changing FIFA Itself,” Minkey Worden, director of Global Initiatives, stated “The sports world needs to adopt and enforce human rights policies and practices for permanent changes to ensure that women can play sports, be fairly compensated, and experience sports as a safe space.”

Establishing policies not only is a layer of protection for the players to feel protected, but also shows that the leagues they are a part of supports them. Having this can allow players to rebuild their trust in the leagues and teams they are a part of due to knowing they are willing to speak up on mistreatment in ways where they are not jeopardizing their careers. 

Along with establishing a program to come forward with mistreatments, leagues can hold investigations into the allegations of mistreatment by the player. Instead of leagues staying silent or trying to protect the abusers they help support the player speaking up. 

When leagues listen to the players and are willing to hold investigations, not only does that show that the abuser’s behavior is not tolerated, but players do not have to fear losing their credibility as players when they do speak up. This also can open more doors to give opportunities to players who were left feeling that they could not speak up about their mistreatments. 

There are negatives when it comes to holding investigations as  players may misuse it and abuseprograms that can help players who are getting mistreated. However, that is not all the time with the cases, and it is important to take investigations seriously. 

Investigations not only give justice to players who had to endure the mistreatment but it builds the environment of the women’s sports community to have a safer space for newer generations of players. 

For example with the Title IX protects both genders, we mostly see it used to improve female athletic opportunities since women athletes have faced gender discrimination in sports throughout the years. 

The article “Is There Gender Discrimination in Sports? How to fix it,” Dr. Brittany Jacobs wrote, “Since the passage of Title IX, there has been more than a 1,000% increase in girls’ involvement in sports, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.” 

Another solution can be hiring more females in the position of different leagues like encouraging women to pursue careers as players, coaches, trainers, executives and journalists. Having a female presence in those positions can make players feel more comfortable. 

Players having an environment where the businesspeople like executives or general managers are taken by women for those positions can make the environment feel safer for them since it is someone who would understand their perspective and the challenges the player’s face. 

Having females in positions that’s a part of writing stories or doing media coverage can help spark more journalists into wanting to talk about women’s sports. Furthermore, they can give a perspective that is not based on the disrespectful view that fans and businesspeople have about women playing particular sports.

Players having coaches and trainers that are female as well can make it comfortable for players to play the sport. Knowing that women are in the position of power to help with building an environment that is safe and positive for players.

Having programs that can help with supporting players when speaking up on their mistreatment and surrounding their workplace with women who can provide that extra support are the first steps to a solution. 

This could be the start that fixes the system that can only see their players as a product to gain more money in the companies’ pockets but that these players are actual human beings that deserve better. At the end of the day the players want to play a game that means so much to them, they should not have to worry about being mistreated. 

What does Women Sport’s mean to you? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!

Jasmina is a first-year student at San Jose State majoring in Journalism, in hopes to be a broadcast journalist. In her free time, Jasmina enjoys reading mostly romcoms, hanging out with friends and family, playing soccer, writing for fun, and listening to music!