Date of Award
women in sports; elite athlete
Sports makeup the very essence and lifeblood of American culture. In addition to being incredibly popular, sports dominate the mainstream media and are fiercely supported across all aspects of society. However, the gender hierarchy that exists in the United States subjects elite women in sports to a lesser status in which their abilities, strengths, and talents are seen as indefinitely inferior to their male counterparts. Exploring the reasoning behind these disparities is a major focus of my research in addition to showing how poorly women in sports are treated today. Previous studies indicate that institutionalized forms of sexism, hegemonic masculinity, and the normalization of strict gender roles are some of the primary reasons behind this severe imbalance. While past research has been lucrative, there is a lack of current and expansive pieces of data. As a result, content analysis was used as the main methodology in which articles about women in sports were analyzed across various online platforms and organized by using thematic codes. This includes Instagram, ESPN, ESPNW, Bleacher-Report, Just Women's Sports, The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. A total of 60 stories were collected and published between the years of 2021 and 2023. Going beyond the inequities that exist for elite female athletes, my research makes it explicitly clear that women's sports are prevented from making progress due to the sociocultural expectations and stereotypes that are placed on them. Not only do female athletes require more rights, but the world today needs to admit that it is actively and systematically sabotaging women in sports.
Clayman, Rebecca, "Fighting for a Level Playing Field: The Reality of Elite Women's Sports in Today's Modern Era" (2023). Honors Theses. 2694.