As I was looking through the articles on Yahoo for a new blog topic, I came across this "Serena Williams is being addressed as 'Mrs' at Wimbledon, raising new questions about tradition" and it piqued my interest. It appears that Serena Williams being called "Mrs." Williams is out of the norm for Wimbledon. Yahoo reported for the 134 years that women have been allowed to compete at Wimbledon, if a competitor is married, the announcers use the husband's name. For example, Yahoo reported "Chris Evert won in Wimbledon in 1974 and 1976, before she was married, and is listed as 'Miss. C.M. Evert.' But when she won in 1981, after marrying John Lloyd, she was listed as 'Mrs. J.M. Lloyd.'" Using the husband's name makes it sound as though a completely different person won. These women have worked hard and deserve their name in the spotlight, not their husband's.
In a different Yahoo article, it was reported that when a woman wins a match it is announced as "Game, Miss/Mrs. Smith" but for a man it is simply "Game, Smith." When this was brought up to several players in interviews, they all reported they did not know this is how the matches were called. While these players did not seem to care, why are women in professional sports defined by their relationship status and/or husbands? Moreover, why do women in professional sports receive such little attention?
While scrolling through the sports section on Yahoo, 95% of the articles are based on men in professional sports. Now I know many of you have heard of the WNBA, but did you know there was a professional softball league? Probably not. National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) has been around since 2004, has only 5 teams and hosts players from the US, Australia, Canada and China. Now let's look at Major League Baseball (MLB). The MLB has been around since 1869 and has 30 teams. Just looking at the websites between the two leagues, there is a major difference. The NPF website has a page for each individual team with each player listed. The MLB has so many teams and players that it offers a search option for active and historical players by league, position, and team.
Let's jump back to the WNBA, shall we? The WNBA was established in 1996, with the first season commencing in 1997. The WNBA is comprised of 12 teams. The NBA was established in 1946 and consists of 30 teams. The NBA's website reports it hosts 82 regular season games, more than double the WNBA's 34. We're not even going to touch on the subject of compensation, other than to say there is a significant difference between NBA and WNBA players.
Over the last several years, there has been a push for women in professional sports to be treated equal to their male counterparts. Women's sports are becoming more and more popular. These women have worked hard to become the best in their sport and should be treated as such.
The topic of gender inequality is not only present in professional sports but in every aspect of society. Women in America make $0.80 on the $1 when compared to their male counterparts. Notably, we've recently seen in Hollywood, female actresses make less than their male costars.
The fact that women are still defined by having children and marriage status is astounding. Several of the articles I came across regarding the women competing at Wimbledon centered around the fact they were mothers and/or recently married. Why is this still the center of discussions of women in sports, business, etc.? Why are we focused on a woman's personal life, rather than her skills and abilities? Women have come a long way in sports and business, but we still have a long way to go.
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