With the WNBA draft taking center stage this week, we’ve also seen a spotlight put on the gender disparity issue on the collegiate and pro levels of sports. Throughout the last month of collegiate and professional sports, viewers have been exposed to the fact that gender disparity in sports, and in general are still around. In the midst of this year’s March Madness tournaments social media videos and images surfaced comparing the treatment of the men’s NCAA basketball teams to that of the women’s NCAA basketball teams.
The men were shown having buffet style meals with trays full of steaks and macaroni that resembled that of something one would find in the kitchen at grandma’s during a weekend family cookout. In comparison, the women were shown receiving boxed lunches that looked like they came directly from a school cafeteria. However, the differences in what was provided for the men versus the women didn’t stop there. The men also received a workout room that resembles any gym like a Planet Fitness or a YMCA ,while the women were given a single rack of dumbbells and yoga mats. Phoenix Mercury star and University of Notre Dame grad Brianna Turner best described the situation tweeting, “Ncaa mbb tournament vibes: We are happy to have you here. Ncaa wbb tournament vibes: You should be happy you’re here.”
Since the initial rise of this disparity issue, there have already been changes put into place to try and level the playing field. For starters, Dick’s Sporting Goods President and CEO Lauren Hobart donated workout equipment to the NCAA women’s basketball teams to ensure that they had the same workout opportunities as the men’s teams. Nike has also made arguably one of the biggest contributions to this change, releasing new Heroine, Explorer, and Rebel Edition jerseys for each of the 12 WNBA teams including the hometown Indiana Fever. The Fever released an Instagram post just a few days ago reacting to the extremely positive reviews of their new uniforms captioned, “The love is real.” So this raises a question. Even though there are efforts being made to right the wrong of this disparity, how much longer will it be until there is zero conversation about providing equity to women in sports? In other words, when will the disparity go away? Regardless of the answer to this question one thing is for certain: a change is coming for women in sports, and we all hope that it’s coming soon.