Social Change Through Women's Sports Term Paper

Pages: 15 (4806 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
.. enhance people's ability and skills to communicate."

That may sound a bit idealistic, given the human suffering and ethnic rivalries in Africa -- rivalries which have led to genocide, and the savage slaughter of millions of innocents in Rwanda and elsewhere -- but, as was stated earlier in this paper, no existing political institution has laid out a better plan for social change. Idealism -- in particular, using women's leadership through sports -- just might make a huge difference in the long run, and possibly, in the short run as well.

Main Body of Paper

Title IX: What women can accomplish in sports if given empowerment opportunities

One of the topics on the agenda for the Kennesaw State University -- which is held in cooperation with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) -- is Title IX, and its impact on women in sports and in society.

Indeed, thanks to Title IX in 1972, American women and girls began to partake in amateur, interscholastic sporting activities at a level equal or close to equal in comparison to men's sports. And, the bottom line is that women made the most of it. Indeed, when females in college and high school were not only "allowed" to but encouraged to shine on the field of play because Title IX opened the door -- whether in basketball, softball, tennis, gymnastics, soccer or other sports of their choice -- they produced, they profited physically and socially, and they played with tremendous pride. The facts are available for all to see.

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Title IX has had a profound impact on the American athletic culture since it was included in the Educational Amendments of 1972. In fact, according to the "Save Title IX" group (www.savetitleix.com/coalition), an alliance of sixty organizations spearheaded by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE), in 1971 there were 32,000 women in varsity / intercollegiate sports in U.S., colleges and universities; but by 1997, thanks to Title IX, there were 160,000 women participating in interscholastic athletics on university and college campuses.

Term Paper on Social Change Through Women's Sports Assignment

On high school campuses, according to NCWGE data, the rate of growth of girls playing sports was even more dramatic. When athletically inclined girls know that that they will be able to participate in intercollegiate sports in college, they participate in high school sports in droves. To wit, in 1971, the year prior to Title IX, there were 294,000 girls playing interscholastic sports, and by the 2002-2003 school year, over 2.8 million high school girls were playing interscholastic sports.

Meantime, studies show that high school girls playing sports on a school team is a very good thing for the girls, according to an article in the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & The Law (Brake, 2004): "Studies show that girls who compete in sports not only receive a physical benefit, but also benefit academically and socially," Brake explains. Girls playing sports have "higher self-esteem, less risk of depression," less likelihood of "engaging in high-risk behaviors," and also, those young women "perform better in school than girls who do not play sports," Blake's article continues.

Moreover, engaging in vigorous athletic activities on a sports team -- at the interscholastic and intercollegiate levels -- gives girls and women "the opportunity to develop new relationships with their bodies, as a source of strength and learning," Brake adds.

According to the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) -- created by tennis great Billy Jean King in 1974 -- groups advocating vigorously for full implementation of Title IX account for that fact that high school girls were playing sports at a ratio of 1 to 2.5 by the year 2002. In 1972, the ratio was 1 girl out of 27 high school girls playing sports. Clearly, women, girls, and advocates for feminine betterment through athletics have seized opportunities and gained momentum through those opportunities.

Granted, enormous progress has been made for girls and women, but, if the United States is to be placed in a position of global leadership regarding women's empowerment, the down-side of women's opportunities in American should be brought to light as well. For example, WSF points out (www.gogirlgo.com) that males have "30% more college sports participation than females," and also that males receive " ... $133 million more in athletic scholarship funds each year" than females do.

In the professional sporting ranks, WSF asserts that female tennis players receive 37 cents for every dollar a professional male tennis players is paid for their efforts. Also, women's sport receives " ... only 8% of all print and television sports media coverage," which is just a notch up from what "horses, dogs and fishing" receives in coverage. Moreover, in terms of coaching opportunities, women only represent some 44% of all collegiate women's sports teams, and women only coach 2% of men's sports teams. So, men coach 56% of women's teams, but women only coach 2% of men's teams. Plus, women only hold 16% of athletic director's positions in American colleges and universities.

The WSF, meantime, has been very influential, receiving the International Olympic Committee's highest award -- the "Women and Sport Trophy" -- in 2001. That was the very first time the award has been given out.

And, back to Title IX, given the overall successful reality of Title IX, what if women were empowered on a global level to become sporting role models for all girls within their cultures, to help young females grow in self-esteem and reach their economic potential?

Australian Sports Commission is funding women's leadership in sports programs

The government of Australia, through the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), is taking action that could provide a leadership example for governments on a global basis. The ASC announced on September 5, 2005 (Howes, 2005) that $400,000 in funding is presently available "to women across the country to pursue leadership opportunities in sport."

The ASC is "committed to providing opportunities and improving the participation of women in leadership roles in sport." What that means, in summary, is that more women will have a chance to pursue training that will open doors to coaching, officiating, governance and management in sports programs. These grants are available in five areas: "high performance coaching and officiating; Indigenous women; women in disability sport; women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and women in general sport leadership."

Granted, the amount of money available in Australia due to this new program -- $400,000 -- is paltry compared with the scholarships that the Women's Sports Foundation in the United States. For example, the WSF grants $10,000 to $20,000 every week of the year to "girls and women's sports programs, researchers, student-athletes and leaders in women's sports." And in total, more than $372 million is granted to women in scholarships annually; still, the gesture on the part of the Australian government shows that political leaders see the value in providing women's sports with the potential to develop strong leaders.

The International Year of Sport and Physical Education

Among the speakers who will energize participants at the Kennesaw conference is Adolf Ogi, the former president of Switzerland, and currently Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace. Ogi sees sport as "a tool for peace," as a way to "promote health," a "contribution to development" and as "a channel of communication." He also sees, of course, a link between the international promoting of sports and fair play and the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDG): combating hunger, illiteracy, poverty, child mortality, environmental degradation and gender inequality.

On the subject of gender injustice and inequality, Ogi points out (Ogi, 2005) in the UN Chronicle, that young girls and women are "bought and sold [as slaves] by organized crime rings" in a "multi-billion-dollar sex industry." More than 14 million children are orphaned by HIV / AIDS, he continues, and of the 121 million children who "are denied education worldwide," an estimated 65 million are girls.

All these dark statistics notwithstanding, Ogi believes that "... one should look for opportunity in adversity." And, further, he asserts that by training female coaches to go into struggling communities around the world to show -- and teach -- the values linked to spirited sporting experiences, life can be made better for the socially challenged and the children who now are clearly underdogs in the game of life.

South African girls and women are victims of cruelty and sexual abuse

One places in the world where there is certainly " ... opportunity in adversity," and where there is a desperate need for the idealism and energy of the UN-led women's leadership in sports program is South Africa. According to a Bulletin of the World Health Organization (Christofides, et al., 2005), there were 52,425 cases of rape reported in the years 2002-2003. Those data are probably far less than that actual number of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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