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Women supporting women

A Path to increasing respect for women’s sports
Tracy Zhang
To fix the discrepancy between the amount of people watching women’s sports versus men’s, Molly Kirshbaum suggests that more women start watching women’s sports.


After the Spanish women’s soccer team defeated England in the 2023 World Cup, Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish team, kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips without consent. Despite Rubiales’s later statement that the act was “mutual,” Hermoso said it made her uncomfortable. 

According to a report in the New Yorker, Rubiales went on to claim that the win belonged to himself and head coach Jorge Vilda, giving zero recognition to the players who physically won the match. 

This is appalling. We already know that people do not always take women’s sports seriously. Even in my own house full of enthusiastic sports fans, I hardly ever see women’s sports on TV. I have heard people make fun of the audiences of women’s sports games, comparing them to the audiences for male teams. 

Yet as a female athlete myself, to think that even the best female soccer players in the world receive no respect was upsetting. 

This comes after years of gains for female athletes. Viewership of women’s sports has seen an increase over the past few years. According to studies conducted by Nielson, the audience for the 2023 WNBA draft increased 42% from 2022. 

The viewage of women’s college sports has also seen a substantial increase from the NCAA tournament in 2022 to the one in 2023. The same reports from Nielson show that there were 10 million viewers of the 2023 final game between Iowa and LSU, which is 103% more than last year.

There have also been increases in pay equity. All four tennis grand slam events have offered equal prize money for men and women since 2007, and this is planned to continue to all high-tier tennis tournaments in future years according to CNN.

Society is moving in the right direction in its perspective of women’s sports, but there is still so far to go.

It is undeniable that men still dominate the sports industry. 

As recorded in Bloomberg, the NBA generates over $10 billion per season while the WNBA is only projected to bring in $200 million in the 2023 season. This should mean that the average salary of a WNBA player should be 5% of an average NBA player, but that is not the case. A study at Adelphi University concluded that WNBA players make around $76,000 annually, much less than 5% of the average NBA salary of $8.3 million.

Their dominance is reflected in the audience size. The Nation reported that in 2016 the audience of the WNBA is still one third of the audience of the NBA and women’s sports only make up 4% of all sports media coverage. This smaller audience leads to poor coverage, as sports networks avoid the monetary risk of televising sports with smaller audiences. And poor coverage, in turn, leads to fewer people developing an interest in women’s sports.

Interestingly, it’s not because men aren’t watching. According to a poll by Seton Hall University, more men than women said that they watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The same is true of the WNBA. 

If women’s sports are lacking viewership and appreciation, and men are the main viewers of sports, a clear solution is for women to start watching more women’s sports. The audience and support that female athletes deserve may have to come from within, by women supporting each other and watching each others’ games and matches.

In high school, football games and men’s basketball games tend to have the largest audiences, but it does not need to be that way. As females and female athletes, we should strive to also fill the stands at women’s sports games.

Making a difference does not have to be hard. You can start by attending women’s sports games at your own high school or other high schools around you. 

It also is not difficult to turn on the TV and watch women’s sports. This could be WNBA, women’s tennis, or even college women’s teams. There are so many sports fans that follow lots of men’s sports teams, so if that is you, try to follow one women’s team for every men’s team.

It is important for us as female athletes to find encouragement regardless of our audience. Support for women’s sports must come from within first, and we cannot let negativity stop us from playing and showing up for each other.

While Rubiales resigned from his position after being suspended, his actions will never be forgotten. It has been months since Spain won the Women’s World Cup, and I am still thinking about the attitude he had towards his players.

As a female soccer player, it is easy for me to become frustrated by the actions of Rubiales. Instead, I will try to let it fuel me to make a change in society’s point of view and encourage others to do the same.

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About the Contributors
Molly Kirshbaum
Molly Kirshbaum, Reporter
Sophomore Molly Kirshbaum is a second-year reporter on Tatler. Molly loves journalism because as a reporter, she can meet new people and express something meaningful. However, writing isn’t her only talent. In fact, she’s a dedicated member of the St. Mary’s soccer team. This summer, she stayed busy by practicing her moves on the field five days a week. In July, Molly took a trip to Boston, where she visited Boston Gardens and the shops on Newbury Street. In her downtime, Molly loves listening to country music by Morgan Wallen and watching cheesy romantic comedies. Some of her favorite movies are “Ten Things I Hate About You”, “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” and “The Proposal.” She also hangs out with her friends at the lake and chills with her labradoodles, Archie and Lucy. This year, she’s looking forward to taking AP Psychology and writing more of her amazing articles. 
Tracy Zhang
Tracy Zhang, Artist
Tracy is a junior starting her third year of Tatler as an artist, and she is so excited to start this year. In particular, Tracy is most looking forward to the maestro groups because she thinks they will be more fun, productive and inclusive. However, most of all, Tracy hopes the maestro groups will further strengthen the bond between writers and artists. Tracy had a very interesting summer with her attending the National Student Leadership Conference program at the University of California, Berkeley, a 10 day program focused on business, more specifically, consulting and marketing. Tracy also had a very strange interaction with a stranger standing outside of a Panda Express in San Francisco. In her free time, Tracy is an active member of the bowling team and enjoys rewatching her favorite movie, “Howl’s Moving Castle” for its storyline and art style. We are so excited to have Tracy as a member of the Tatler staff this year! 

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    Dale MaddalunoOct 18, 2023 at 11:30 pm

    Yes women should watch more women’s sports