Editorial: Questioning gender politics in sports

The Back Up the Bison Tailgate sponsored by the Undergraduate Executive Internship Program (UEIP) could generally be considered a success, since 625 students attended the tailgate on April 15.

The event succeeded in inclusivity in the sense that prizes were offered to one Greek and one non-Greek organization with the highest attendance. This incentive for student participation from across campus was not strictly focused on Greek organizations and awarded $200 each to Kappa Kappa Gamma and ATHENA to donate to philanthropies of their choice. The event’s Facebook page also commended Tau Kappa Epsilon and Bucknell Dance Company for their participation.

However, it is also relevant to note that these tailgates have exclusively been for men’s sports. Last fall, the tailgate led up to a football game, while April 15’s tailgate was held before a men’s lacrosse game. While men’s sports are typically more highly attended on a University and national level, the University has a thriving athletics program for both men’s and women’s sports. This lack of attention on women’s athletics raises questions about the overall state of gender equality on campus.

On a broader scale, sexism and wage inequality is a prevalent topic in the national sports world, being that the U.S. women’s soccer team recently filed wage discrimination action against U.S. soccer. A report from the United States Soccer Federation’s 2015 financial report found that members of the women’s soccer team are paid about a quarter of what men are, despite the fact that the women’s team earned $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team last year, according to an ESPN article.

Ultimately, our society still has a long way to go in order to achieve equality between men and women, and the world of competitive athletics is one area that the inequality is especially evident. It’s no secret that males are privileged in our society, and the normalized gender roles and stereotypes that are embedded in us are especially evident when it comes to the “male” world of sports. This is an issue that plagues sports at the University, as well as on a national level.

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