Women in Sports: Making History

Over the years, it has been a struggle for women to find their place in the professional sports industry, due to how male-centered this entity is. Despite the struggle, women have pursued their passions and made great progress. This year alone, women across various sports have broken numerous barriers. 

Such an example lies in Becky Hammon. Hammon was signed as the first female assistant coach in the NBA in 2014. Hammon journeyed her way from playing point guard in the WNBA to coaching the San Antonio Spurs. She also served as head coach during the Spurs summer league, leading the team to a championship win. She is very inspiring and has a great support base, including her own players like Manu Ginóbili who stated, “She’s committed, she’s passionate, she’s smart, she’s worldly."

Another sports history-making woman is Vicki Sparks: the first female commentator in the Men’s World Cup. In large tournaments like this, women are often seen on the sidelines reporting injuries. While this is a vital role, these women are often just as knowledgeable about the sport as the men commentating. Sparks broke through the gendered barrier this summer at the FIFA World Cup in Russia as she joined the tournament commentating staff.

Representation of women in what have traditionally been male-dominated sports is not only inspiring, but crucial in creating change around gender norms. Calling out the inequality of the industry is part of fostering this change, and has been seen just this year in the U.S. Open tennis tournament. 

During the match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, the umpire, Carlos Ramos, appeared to give Osaka an advantage after Williams supposedly received coaching during the match - an act she denies. 

While expressing her arguments against the decision and calling Ramos a "thief" for stealing the game away from her, she was penalized for “verbal abuse” and later fined $17,000. Williams called out the double standards surrounding men and women in the sport in a press conference held after the match. Williams said, "I've seen other men say much worse things, and not get penalized. I'm constantly working for women's equality, and when he did that, I thought it was sexist."

Every day, history is being made by powerful women who push through the barriers separating women in the sports industry. The glass ceiling in this field is not yet broken, however, as we have seen thus far, there is surely a change coming.

 

To read more check out these articles: 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/16/how-far-can-becky-hammon-go-in-the-nba

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fans-say-serena-williams-is-an-example-of-pure-class-afterclash-us-open-umpire-2018-09-08