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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record

The LHS Review

Women compete for equality in sports

Photo by Victoria Franco

Photo by Victoria Franco

Courtney Murphy, Staff Writer

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Photo By Victoria Franco
Senior Veronyka Sourmau and Freshman Tatiana Lou compete for the LHS Wrestling Team earlier this year in the Riddick Field House.

By Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Lowell, MA- A girl on the hockey team? A girl on the wrestling team? What about a woman coaching the football team?

Gender equality in sports has been an issue for many years. Whether it means having equal pay and treatment at the professional level or even having the participation rights at the high school level.

Women in sports has been controversial for many reasons otherwise. And over the past decades many women have been leaders in the quest to break the men’s sport ceiling.  Recently, the the United States Women’s National Team received a complaint from some of its best women athletes.

MSN Sports reported last year that members of the current US Women’s Olympic Soccer team are fighting a battle for equal pay against the US Soccer Federation.http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/soccer/uswnt-players-complaint-exposes-pro-soccers-massive-gender-wage-gap/vp-BBrhP2q

In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment & Opportunity Commission, the women’s team claims to have earned a quarter of what the men’s team earned in salary but produced 20 million dollars more in revenue, according to the article. No decision has been made in the case as of Dec. 28, 2016.

In the professional world of sports women experience harder financial battles than they would if they were men. Most women sports aren’t featured or advertised on television because women sports don’t gain enough viewers, according to MSN.

Other times people simply don’t want to see a woman in a football uniform.

So, what makes a difference?

At Lowell High School there are 14 sports defined for women and 17 sports defined for men. Some sports such as football, hockey, wrestling aren’t specified by gender, but as a community we often assume it’s a ‘male sport.’

Each boy and girl is allowed an equal opportunity to play, try out, participate in any school activity by law as outlined in the Title IX section of Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IX has been a liability for many high schools across America because the athletic directors must protect the rights of the student and maintain competition expectations of the community.

If a child is denied from participation of the sport/activity the school will receive penalties. Penalties may include loss of funding or the cost of attorney fees if a case is lost in court, according to Sadker.org.

Even if the school offers a team for their specific gender each individual has the right to participate and try out. Wouldn’t this increase the participation in sports? According to the MSN article titled ‘Why don’t women play sports?’ it claims that body issues, sexism, and the lack of attention also affect girls’ engagement.

Lowell High has seen a tremendous increase in the participation of female athletes during the past decade as awareness of Title IX’s mandate increases among administrators and athletes.

Lowell High Athletic Director James DeProfio tells us that participation in sports has increased where they add a third level team. An example is certain sports at LHS have a Freshmen, JV A or  JV B , and Varsity level team.

Deprofio explains that Lowell High being the first diverse public high school and co educational public high school in America already had met Title IX requirements.

Deprofio also said, “ Title IX is giving into an official voice that all students need opportunity.”

Although girls do not participate in a predominately male sport often, it didn’t stop senior Lil Patrylo from joining the hockey team. Patrylo plays left wing for Lowell High, as she always loved hockey since she was three years old.

Patrylo has been on the hockey team all four years at Lowell High.

According to Patrylo, her treatment on the team is no different than the boys. She does the same exercise and wears the same gear even if her size doesn’t compare.

“I get respect as an equal player because I have earned my part, I am a big part of the team,” Patrylo said

At LHS we have two female wrestlers who do all the warm ups, exercises, and competitions.

During competitions Senior Veronyka Sourmau and Freshman Tatiana Lou are wrestling anyone who is in their size regardless of gender.

Title IX is also helpful to coaches because it encourages them to offer participation in anyone. At LHS we see that the sports that are ‘non cut’ have tremendous amount of participation, according to DeProfio.

10 year track coach Tricia Gabor describes Title IX as great for her because it allows greater participation in sports. Gabor believes if a girl can compete and be safe in the sport, it’s a good experience.

Gabor says “it’s a good experience because it’s not all about the guys.”

According to Feminist Majority Foundation, the number of high school girl athletes has increased to 1:2.5, where boys remain at 1:2.

At Lowell High School there is a great pride in how much practice and effort goes into a game or meet. At LHS we have the pride to try again and build new relationships with teammates making us one of a kind.

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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record
Women compete for equality in sports