The Impact And Rise Of Women In Sports
Post by guest contributor Frankie Wallace.
For decades, women have made incredible strides in the world of sports and are becoming more and more visible within the athletic community. Here are some of the ways women have inspired us and challenged the status quo time and time again.
Historic Moments in Sports for Women
According to research from Ohio University, “40 percent of all sports participants are female. Yet women’s sports receive only 4 percent of all sports media coverage.” Despite this low amount of coverage, women continue to break barriers and achieve greatness within the sports industry. Here are a few notable milestones for women in sports throughout history:
Billie Jean King Defeats Bobby Riggs: Already turned into a big studio movie, the Battle of the Sexes tennis match in 1973 was a triumph for women around the world as they watched King take the win against the notoriously misogynistic Riggs. King was already a legend at that point, but defeating Riggs sent a statement to women everywhere that they can do anything.
Althea Gibson Breaks New Ground: Often referred to as a female Jackie Robinson, Gibson made strides for both race and gender equality by becoming the first black competitor at the U.S. Nationals in 1950. She also became the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon in 1957 and the U.S. Open in 1958.
Ann Meyers Drysdale Inspires Generations of Women: Drysdale became the first woman to sign an NBA contract, as she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. She also became the first woman to broadcast an NBA game when she served as a color commentator for the Pacers.
Danica Patrick Proves It’s Not Just a Men’s Game: In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy race with her victory in the Japan 300. As a professional racing driver since the age of 10, Patrick continues to make an impact on the sports industry and inspires women everywhere.
The Olympics Makes History: In 2012, the U.S. sent more female Olympians than male to compete in the summer games. Women’s boxing made its debut that year, while male competitors were outmedaled by women in the U.S., Russian and Chinese teams in all sporting categories.
These are just a small number of the ways women are making a tremendous difference in the sports industry. But it’s not only in sports where women are breaking new ground. According to Arizona State University, “women make up nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 51 percent of corporate professionals.” It’s inspiring figures like King and Drysdale who have brought strength and confidence to women everywhere and motivated women to move up in their career.
Since King and Drysdale made such important milestones, other women have achieved greatness in other industries. For example, Eileen Collins became the first female space commander in 1999 when she was assigned to pilot space shuttle Columbia. Collins became the first female astronaut to pilot a space shuttle mission in 1995 and became the Air Force’s first female flight instructor. From healthcare to technology, athletics to journalism, women have made a difference in how they’re represented and proven there are no boundaries to what women can do.
These women and their inspiring stories of success will continue to stand the test of time and empower everyone to accomplish their goals. The impact women have made in the sports industry demonstrates the strength and power our femininity holds within all of us. The amount of barriers broken by women throughout history is astounding. But we still have a long way to go before that glass ceiling is completely shattered.
Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist interested in all things pop culture. Wallace resides in Boise, Idaho and contributes to a variety of blogs across the web.