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Women's march and the wide world of sports

by Alyssa Daley - Executive Editor
Tue, Jan 31st 2017 11:00 pm
Photo taken from upload.wikimedia.org
Photo taken from upload.wikimedia.org

  This year's Women's March on Washington, D.C., was massive; a record number of people marched in support of women's rights and gender equality, with a crowd estimated to be three times the number of people who attended Trump's inauguration, according to The New York Times. It took place Saturday, Jan. 21, a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.

Athletes all over the world voiced their opinions on the matter and most were in support of the thousands of people who marched in cities all over the world. Using the hashtag "#womensmarch" Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lebron James, American tennis player Nicole Gibbs, Detroit Lions linebacker Deandre Levy and others either participated in the march or spoke up on social media about the importance of all people walking in support of one another and equal rights.

The first Women's March on Washington was held March 3, 1913, one day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, for the right to vote, according to the smithsonianmag.com Over the years the suffragette movement has evolved to encompass gender equality as a whole, protection for immigrants, the rights of the minority and LGBTQ communities as well as the right to have access to women's health services. Some people believe the movement is purely a feminist protest and associate the negative connotations that come with the word "feminist" to the march.

The true definition of feminism, however, is the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This means feminists are for the equality for all and this is the cause both men and women from all corners of the world supported that day.

The gender wage gap and gender discrimination as a whole in the world of sports is an enormous issue. In 2016 Forbes did a study and compiled a list of which professional sports were "the most gender-equitable." Tennis was at the top with the magazine stating that it is the only sport that places women on the Forbes' "World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes". Besides tennis, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, World Major Marathons and the World Surf League ensure that both the male and female winners of their competitions are given the same amount in prize money.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the majority of all professional golf leagues and tournaments as well as the difference between the NBA and the WNBA. According to Forbes, the WNBA has a minimum salary of $109,500 and a maximum of $878,000 while the NBA's minimum salary is around $525,093 and the maximum is $16.407 million.

I shouldn't have to tell you this is an incredibly large gap that exists without reason. In all professional sports women and men play the game with just as much dedication, passion, enthusiasm, etcetera. The only possible difference, and it is to no fault of the female athletes or sports teams, is that men's sports tend to be advertised and broadcasted on a larger scale. The only reason for this is that our society unfortunately still falls privy to the belief that men are more capable than women outside the domestic domain.

I cannot tell you what will change this male-dominated perspective on a local, national or international scale. However, the fact that so many people came out in support of this year's Women's March, no matter what their skin color, gender or religious beliefs proves there are those who wish to make that change come about. To see that the professional sports community understands that there is still a long way to go on its end as well and there are those who are assertive enough in their fight for equality to say something is hopeful.

Unfortunately our new president has already begun to dissolve the laws and policies in place to protect the rights of minority groups in our nation but as we saw in the days before and after his inauguration the division between those who see the discrimination and male gender bias and those who do not has solidified and both sides seem to be standing firm on their beliefs no matter which side you may think is right or wrong. We just have to remember that standing up for what we believe in should not be something we do only once or twice a year. It should be something we do every day of our lives even if the decisions we make based on those beliefs seem small and inconsequential.

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