Bruin Banner

Bruin Banner

Gender Inequality In Sports

aerial view of Barlow’s baseball and softball fields.

Most female athletes can agree that, to some extent, gender inequality is prominent in sports. Discrimination even reaches the professional level. For example, the United States women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in March of 2019 against the United States Soccer Federation, stating that although the women’s team plays and wins more games than the US men’s team, they are paid less, according to the New York Times. This issue reaches all levels of sports, including high school sports at Barlow.

A significant issue that has been going on here at Barlow is the improvement of the softball field. In the Spring of 2022, the softball team filed a complaint that Barlow had violated Title IX. Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits discrimination based on gender in programs or activities that receive federal money. The Gresham-Barlow School District receives federal financial help, so they are required to adhere to this. The complaint stated that the baseball teams have better practice and competitive facilities, as well as locker rooms, than the softball teams.

When asked to describe the girls’ locker room, an anonymous female student states, “It smells like toenail clippings. It is a very warm and tropical environment, which sounds good, but in reality, this is not the climate you want for a locker room. It is muggy and dingy. Also, the sink does not spray. Instead, it unenthusiastically drools.” Most female students would agree that the locker room is humid and unpleasant, and the sink barely functions. It is dirty and a weak water stream only comes out of a small area of the sink, making washing your hands a much more time-consuming process. Another female student commented, “I have been in both locker rooms, and I can confidently say that the difference is obvious. The guys have electric hand dryers, and their locker room is clearly bigger.” 

Recently, the district has been making an effort to provide a solution to the issues brought up by the softball players. Gresham and Barlow high schools are getting turf softball and baseball fields with equal updates, and Gresham’s fields are currently being worked on. Mr. Schmidt, former principal of Barlow who is currently working in the district office, explains, “The softball field is set to get new turf, lights, turfed bullpen areas, a home run fence, and foul poles. Also, the field will have the capability to serve as a little league baseball field for our local youth programs.” However, this process has been very delayed. Mr. Schmidt explained the various problems that arose during the permitting process and stated that the construction should be finished in early April. This is now being postponed until after softball season so that the construction will not interfere too much with the season. Although specific to softball, this project is a major step in the right direction for all of Barlow’s female sports.

Overall, Barlow does not appear to have a substantial amount of gender discrimination compared to other schools; nevertheless, it is refreshing to see a group of girls take action against discrimination, as well as some changes being made by the district. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Julia Aguirre
Julia Aguirre, Staff Writer

I’m Julia Aguirre, and I’m a junior here at Barlow. This is my second year writing for the Bruin Banner. Outside of school, I enjoy playing soccer and spending time with my friends and family.

Comments (0)

All Bruin Banner Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *