Shining a Light on Women in Sport

Athletes from the CapU Blues teams speak about recognition in women’s sports 

Alden Mackay // Contributor

It’s no secret that women in sports receive less recognition than their male counterparts. One only has to scroll through the numerous television channels covering men’s sports to seethe discrepancy for themselves. Female athletes often have to work harder than men while receiving less compensation just to reach the same level of respect and recognition.

Claire Ye, defence/midfield for the women’s soccer team, and Meghan Koven, outside hitter/midfield for the women’s volleyball team from the CapU Blues, are aware of gender inequality in the sports world but take an optimistic point of view. “We’re pretty lucky here,” said Koven.“There is a lot of [support] at Cap.” Both Ye and Koven appreciate the feeling of community they’ve gained playing for the Blues. “They’re so much more than teammates,” Koven shared. Ye and Koven have both nurtured a passion for their respective sports from a young age and competed throughout high school and into post-secondary. Both are determined to succeed, despite the gendered hurdles in professional sports.

“I work extra hard because I want to prove everyone wrong,” Ye said. She doesn’t want the stereotype of female inferiority to be supported. “Growing up now there is a different culture than twenty years ago,” she continued. Ye credits athletes like Burnaby-local Christine Sinclair for this shift. The celebrated forward for Canada’s women’s national soccer team recently set the all-time record for international goals for men and women, almost doubling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record.

Despite positive steps towards gender equality in sports, there is still a major deficit in the media coverage women’s sports receive. The FIFA World Cup, for instance, primarily focuses its coverage on the men’s teams because of the assumption that men’s sports attract more views. The lack of coverage, however, perpetuates the idea that men’s sports hold the public’s interest, which also impacts the funding of women’s sports since pay comes from views. If women are not broadcasted then they are not going to get paid as much as men, regardless of skill. Ye and Koven are hopeful that this will change. The growing global interest in watching women’s sports shown in polls indicates hope.

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