Women’s sports deserves more recognition


Areebah Bharmal, Staff Writer

At the beginning of September, Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed Ali Daei’s international goal record of 109 to take the top spot with 111 international goals. Headlines were flooded with the news of Ronaldo becoming the new record holder with 180 caps representing Portugal. A Google search of “top international goalscorers of all time” pulls up his name followed by Daei to reflect him breaking the record – only he did not. 

111 is not the most international goals scored by a player, and Ronaldo does not hold the record for most international goals. That title goes to Canadian Christine Sinclair who has scored 76 more goals than Ronaldo for a total of 187 international goals for her country. In fact, if women and men are ranked together for international goals, Ronaldo would barely crack the top ten. 

This situation reflects a common theme of women’s sports being overlooked and seen as inferior to men’s. After years of the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) being more successful than the men’s team and dominating on the world stage in various tournaments, they are still fighting for equal pay. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is also fighting for attention compared to Major League Soccer (MLS), and their players continue to fight for better pay and treatment.

U.S. women’s national team player Tobin Heath recently discussed how difficult it still is to watch women’s soccer games. Here we have one of the most successful teams in the world, and their games are not readily available to watch. A common argument for why women’s sports are inferior is that they do not have as many fans and do not generate as much revenue. However, in the situations where this is the case, it is because of the perception that men’s sports are somehow superior, that women’s sports do not get as much attention. This perception will never change if women’s sports are not even accessible to watch. Female athletes work just as hard as their male counterparts; there is no reason why they should be seen as less than. If we were to view our male and female players and teams as equal, there would not be a gap in popularity. 

In the case of the US women’s and men’s soccer teams, the women’s team does bring in more revenue from ticket sales, and yet they continue to be overlooked. The women recently played Paraguay in two matches. In the first game, Carli Lloyd alone scored five times and had a hat trick before the first half was over. The USWNT won the game 9-0. In the second game, Alex Morgan scored three goals for a hat trick of her own, and Rose Lavelle finished the game with one goal and three assists. The USWNT won this game 8-0. Despite their success in these games and the feats these players have accomplished and continue to accomplish, these games were hardly discussed by anyone. As usual, these athletes’ achievements were overlooked as the world focused on male athletes instead.  

Title IX, which ensured equal access to programs regardless of gender, is a relatively new law. It was passed less than 50 years ago, and was an important step towards gender equality. However, the backlash it still faces highlights how far we still have to go.

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