Gender discrimination in sports is still a frustrating reality. From the wage gap to significantly less media coverage than their male counterparts, female athletes are actively demanding change.
Although about 40 percent of athletes are women, women’s sports receive only 4 percent of all sports media coverage. Because of the lesser viewership, this means less advertisement and fewer sponsors, which means lesser pay. Last year, the women’s national hockey team took an unprecedented stand against USA Hockey, demanding more equal treatment headed into the World Championships. And they won. After about a week of protesting, the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team scored better pay and the same treatment and benefits as men, receiving the $68,000 salary they asked for and many other benefits. It was a historic moment for female athletes.
It didn’t end there. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, female athletes made up 43 percent of all athletes competing at the games. It was a record-breaking moment where we saw nearly as many female as male competitors — which means increased media coverage and showing young girls that, yes, there are plenty of female athletes out there to look up to, and yes, you can be one too.
While it seems that progress is slowly being made, let’s take a moment to spotlight the women speaking up for equal pay and gender equality in the sports world. Here are a few more female athletes blazing trails and making the news for more than their athletic ability.
A version of this article was originally published in March 2017.