Caitlin Clark is changing the conversation around women’s athletics, but there is still much work to be done to combat rampant sexism in sports.
After finishing second in the national championship last year, Caitlin Clark and the Iowa women’s basketball team’s season tickets for the 2023-24 season sold out for the first time in history thanks to their unprecedented run and Clark’s undisputed role as the face of the team.
*Forbes Magazine* said that, for the first time, tickets to the women’s Final Four were three times more expensive than men’s tickets. On top of that, the 2023 NCAA Championship Game averaged 9.9 million viewers and was the most-watched women’s basketball final game in history according to the *New York Times*.
It’s great that a female athlete is changing the sports world and becoming the main topic of conversation, but Clark’s generational talent shouldn’t allow people to ignore that sexism is still prevalent in the world.
Unlike the Iowa women’s basketball team, other women’s sports struggle to achieve high attendance rates, but that’s not the biggest problem with sexism in sports. The biggest problem is the degradation of women’s sport simply because women play it.
You can find it in the comments on social media posts. The NCAA recently sent South Carolina and Notre Dame to Paris to play, and ESPN reported on it on Instagram. In the comments, people posted jokes or criticisms such as: “What is a woman? or “No one will watch and not because of the weather because no one cares.”
This behavior reveals that there is still a lot of systemic sexism and that many people use sports as a way to express their prejudices.
Many women’s college basketball teams still receive no recognition unless Clark plays against them. Some teams are even ignored by their own schools and athletic departments on social media in favor of their men’s teams.
According to ESPN“Of the 17 Power 5 athletic departments whose women’s hoops team competed in the 2023 tournament but whose men’s team did not, nine, or 52 percent, tweeted more often about their men’s team during the regular season.”
This is an embarrassing and hurtful statistic for female athletes.
There is no doubt that sexism is still rife in the daily lives of women in the United States. If they make a mistake, if they mess up, and if they don’t do things to a certain standard, they are immediately dehumanized.
Platforms like ESPN, news networks, sports departments and many others need to do a better job of eliminating hate towards women and sexist comments on their pages and in their articles. The sport is growing because of Clark, but the platforms must allow it to grow beyond what past and future generations would have imagined.
Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the editorial board, the Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.