Before women were allowed to compete in the Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee, asserted that “an Olympiad with females would be impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and improper.”
If you’re a supporter of Girls Inc., you know that Coubertin’s claim is absurd. Take our Women’s National Soccer Team as an example. Since the 1996 Olympic Games, the Women’s National Soccer Team has won four gold medals and one silver, and this year the team has an impressive 14-0-1 record.
At the 2016 Rio Games, they have the unique opportunity of winning the Women’s World Cup and Olympic Gold in back-to-back years. No team has ever accomplished this back-to-back win, but if anyone can pull it off, our women’s team can.
However, even with all these accomplishments, women’s sports only receive a fraction of the coverage that their male counterparts do, and the unequal airtime extends beyond soccer.
According to the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, women’s athletics receive only about 4 percent of all sports media coverage. Even with the increase in female athletes and female sports fans over the years, women’s sports often don’t get covered at all on television.
When women’s sports are covered, the commentary is often less substantive—focusing on an athlete’s appearance or her role as mother rather than her performance in the game.
We know girls and women are strong, smart, and bold out on the field, but we want every other sports fan to believe it, too.
When the Olympics come around, the perception around women in sports changes. Once every four years, the Summer Olympic Games give female athletes the platform and exposure they otherwise rarely get.
In fact, the majority of U.S. athletes competing in the 2016 Olympics are women:
This year take advantage of the more equal airtime between men and women at the Summer Olympics. Use the 2016 games as a springboard to launch women’s sports into the collective sports consciousness of the U.S.
The opening ceremony airs August 5th at 7 pm EST, and the games run through August 21st.
Watch the Summer Olympics with a girl in your life. The Olympic Games inspire, so go ahead and fuel her fire. Who knows, she might even want to try a new sport herself.