Despite student sentiment, disparities between women, men’s sports remain prevalent at CHS

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Jillian Moore

As many athletes at this school might know, our stadium is split in half. Under the visitors’ side is the women’s locker room, and under the home side is the significantly larger and better-equipped men’s locker room. Over the years, as I’ve participated in varsity women’s track and field, junior varsity volleyball and JV women’s tennis, I can attest to the fact that this divide is a representation of the intangible inequalities felt across our athletic programs. 

While the larger size of the men’s locker room is usually justified by the large size of the football teams, one of the only no-cut sports offered, as the track and field season begins on March 14, this justification breaks down. The men and women’s track and field teams have similar sizes, yet the men’s team gets a bigger locker room; also, the only advantage to the women’s locker room, the training bikes, were gifted by an alum rather than funded by this school. I understand the inherent issues the school would face with addressing this issue, but it is still very revealing of the gender stereotypes we have yet to overcome. 

The administration has been quoted in previous HiLite articles commenting on their inability to increase attendance at women’s sports events and their commitment to providing equality of resources. While I commend these actions for example, getting new jerseys for both the men and women’s soccer teams our athletic department must go further. Equality is not equity, and giving both men and women’s sports the same equipment is not enough to address the societal gender discrimination that still affects women’s sports here and on the national level. 

Although Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school or education program funded by the federal government, and has for over 50 years now, issues of discrimination in public high school and collegiate sports still remain prevalent nationwide. In 2021, the comparatively low quality facilities for women’s basketball teams during March Madness went viral. Just this December, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found the University of Kentucky out of compliance with Title IX for not providing female athletes equal athletic opportunities. 

CHS coaches should work closely with our athletics director, PTO and student body to promote and further develop women’s sports, including separately from men’s sports. Student media like CHTV and WHJE should strive to have equitable broadcast coverage; the HiLite staff continues to work toward this goal. Even simple actions like inviting the cheerleading team to home women’s basketball and volleyball games can make a huge difference toward increasing student and parent attendance. 

CHS should take more efforts to remove itself from this trend by focusing on the intangible signs of gender discrimination. We should prioritize equity over equality in training regimens, injury prevention, and promotions in social media and student media. We should further develop the relationship between the athletic department and our women’s coaching staff, as well as between men’s and women’s coaches of the same sport. Until more action is taken, disparities will persist within CHS’s athletic programs and we will stay behind the times in gender equity and the empowerment of female student athletes. 

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Jillian Moore at [email protected] 

To see more of Jillian’s work, click here.

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