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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

May 13, 2014 at 6:47 AM

A 13-year-old asks: Why aren’t women’s sports equal to men’s?

BY AMELIA WILSON

Amelia Wilson is a 13-year-old in seventh grade at Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue. She wrote this letter for a class assignment and gave her permission to The Seattle Times to reprint it in the Take 2 blog.

Seattle has been celebrating since the second the Super Bowl ended. There have been parades and parties with hundreds of thousands of people celebrating.

Seattle has been so thrilled because, according to many, no Seattle teams have won a major professional championship  since 1979, when the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA championship.

Except that isn’t true. Don’t women count? Seattle’s women’s basketball team, the Storm, have won the WNBA finals not once but twice – in 2004 and 2010.

I don’t remember a parade with a half million people celebrating the win by the Seattle Storm, do you? But why won’t people give credit to these women? Why don’t women get as much recognition for sports accomplishments as men?

While Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made equality a requirement for college sports, there is still inequality in interest and exposure to women’s sports. Women should be able to get just as much credit as men in sports. And that has to start with the coverage on television. Derval O’Rourk, from the Irish Examiner, agrees. “According to the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation in the UK, it’s estimated that the media coverage is about 5 percent of total sports coverage.” That means that 95 percent of sports on television is men’s sports.

Also, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, “In NCAA Division I-A, head coaches for women’s teams receive an average salary of $850,400, while head coaches in men’s sports average $1,783,100. This is a difference of $932,700.”

These facts may be huge contributors as to why women are not thought to be as strong, athletic or smart as men. Women who work just as hard as male athletes (and, in many cases, harder) don’t get as much credit or money as the men who play the same sports. These men have very large advantages for no reason at all. This is intolerable for women.

I know what many people are thinking: “But men are stronger and faster.” I agree that is typically the case. But if men are playing against men and women are playing against women, wouldn’t the level of competition be the same? If the competition is the same, and the athletes are equal, shouldn’t there be equality in pay for the coaches who coach these athletes?

Female athletes should be able to get just as much credit for their accomplishments in sports as men already receive. And the coaches of these women’s sports should have the same salary as the coaches for men’s sports and should get the same credit for what they do.

Equality between men’s and women is a civil right, but if men and women aren’t paid the same for playing the same sport or for doing the same job, then where is the equality? That is denying a basic freedom.

I hope people will notice this and stand up for equal pay and equal credit between both women and men. That is the only way things will change.

Amelia Wilson, 13,  competes year-round in swimming. When she’s not swimming or in her seventh grade classes at Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue, she enjoys doing pretty much anything as long as it isn’t homework.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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