‘She Will’ events to boost presence of female athletes

Hannah Sheridan

“She Will,” a series of athletic events promoted by the Women’s Center and the athletics department, encourages attendees to learn about the strides women make in sports.   

The series will give the public a chance to meet female athletes.

The first event of “She Will” was the women’s soccer game Sept. 7.

Cassie Pegg-Kirby, interim director of the Women’s Center, described what she hopes the “She Will” events will accomplish.

“We’re not talking about women’s athletics taking away from what men’s athletics have, but unfortunately, women’s athletics don’t have the same attendance, celebration and support in most places,” Pegg-Kirby said.

Information on issues within gender equity and Title IX will be provided during the events.

According to the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Women in sports have faced a long-term battle against equal pay and representation against male-dominated sports.

Five members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, filed a complaint in 2016 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation over wage discrimination issues.

According to Time, the women’s national team players make 40% of what the male national team players make.

Despite the pay disparity, the U.S. national women’s soccer team is expected to bring in more than $17 million in revenues as well as as a $5 million surplus for 2017 according to a budget report from the U.S. Soccer Federation. The men’s national team is estimated to earn half that and run a deficit.

This disparity at a national level encouraged Pegg-Kirby to help inform others on the issue occurring in Kent. 

“This is about raising awareness for women’s athletics, not just for other women to celebrate women in athletics. I think it’s a two-fold,” Pegg-Kirby said. “(We want to) highlight these amazing athletes who accomplish so much on the field and in the classroom and are often thought of as secondary to the male athletic teams.

One of the ideas Pegg-Kirby has to help solve the disparity issue is to show children strong female athletes who can influence them in the future.

“I think it’s an opportunity to reach out to the local schools,” she said. “We need to be making sure the message is getting out, not just to the women, but to the young men.”

The upcoming events a part of “She Will” include a volleyball game on Oct. 27, a field hockey game on Oct. 28, a gymnastics meet on Jan. 19 and a women’s basketball game on Feb. 3.

Hannah Sheridan is the women and gender issues reporter. Contact her at [email protected]