Swim Mom Musings: What the Soccer Championship Does for Girls & Women in Sports

Courtesy: Donna Hale

We watched in awe as the USA Women’s Soccer team won another championship. The media coverage and aftermath propels girls and women who compete foreword in so many ways — and that includes swimming.  It’s not a secret to any person that loves all sports that the fight for equality is real.  But every athlete and each new horizon not only closes the gap but broadens opportunities.   Here are a few reasons why.

1.  All women’s sports need more role models. Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Simone Manuel as well as those who have come before them have no doubt given swimming a fresh new face.  The stars of our latest soccer championship are doing the same.  Our aspiring athletes that dream of being champions are inspired.  Every little girl can see something of themselves in these talented women.  Every girl can – if they have the will.

2. Equality is about more than the money.  Now this matters.  But we are now raising a generation of girls and boys who not only expect more. They will fight for it.  The tides are turning.  A decade from now we will wonder why it was ever a question of whether men’s and women’s swimming should have ever had different Olympic events.   It will be as natural as breathing properly during freestyle.

3. The media will finally do more as will sponsors.  Kudos to Nike for their great ad celebrating success.  Women are consumers too, and we want more.  We want those powerful ads like Under Armour produced for Phelps.  But we want to see Ledecky, King, and the yet to be realized stars of the future.  We want our daughters and granddaughters to see their future on the internet and on television.

4. More and more sports will become a vehicle for social change.  So many athletes I know, including my own daughter, are social
activists.  We would have never seen some of the images we saw this week a few decades ago.  You can expect more. That’s a wonderfully profound step forward.

5. Sports give athletes a voice.  Now more young girls will be proud to use theirs to rectify the Injustices of our time.   That is progress. This will lead to more women in leadership roles in swimming – all the way from an increase in club ownership to prime NCAA coaching slots to more power in USA swimming.  As I am known for saying:   Fly Girls Fly!

I believe that we can win.  We already have.

About Donna Hale

Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 16 years.  Her daughter is s competitive swimmer in NCAA.

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Hmmm
3 years ago

Women are just slow to average men.

Mike
Reply to  Hmmm
3 years ago

Sounds like the musings of a slow to average mind.

Flyer
Reply to  Hmmm
3 years ago

This kinds of statements — and I do hope you are joking — are a large part of the problem. Really not funny. Sure hope you do not have daughters

IUkicker
Reply to  Hmmm
3 years ago

Way to underestimate half the population.

Lane 4
3 years ago

On the subject of pay here are some figures from women’s soccer. Team USA (the women) are by far more popular in the USA than the men’s team, and rightfully so. Worldwide the men generate 6 BILLION (with a B) in revenue. The women’s team generates about 150 MILLION (with an M) of revenue worldwide. The men’s team receives about 7% of the 6 BILLION for player pay, the women’s team receives 23% of the 150 MILLION for player pay. So dollar for dollar, the women receive more of the total funds, the basket of money is just smaller. I guess there are plenty of places to point fingers as to why that is but all in all they are… Read more »

Eh?
Reply to  Lane 4
3 years ago

Are you really trying to say that the US Men’s Soccer team generates $6B in revenue. Sorry, but I think You’ll need to cite a source for that. Tv audiences for US men are small, their World Cup qualifiers on the road weren’t always even on major networks (BeIn sports anyone) and the crowds weren’t typically full unless we do count the Mexican fans dominating the stadiums when we play Mexico. Please explain your numbers.

Admin
Reply to  Eh?
3 years ago

No, I think he’s trying to say “worldwide the men generate 6 BILLION.” That’s the figure often attached to the men’s World Cup revenue. I think that’s what he’s referencing in his comment (unless it was edited after you responded).

To decipher his grammar: men’s players in the World Cup receive about 7% of the $6 billion generated at the men’s World Cup. Women’s players receive about 23% of the $150 million generated at the women’s World Cup. His numbers seem to check out, according to several sources I’ve found.

(Not taking sides, just trying to help lubricate the communication. Carry on.)

Lane 4
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

You are correct in your assessment of my statement. I am no writer and I appreciate you clarifying what it is I am saying.

Lane 4
Reply to  Eh?
3 years ago

I apologize for any wording of mine that might be confusing, I am not a writer by any means. As far as sources they are easy to find. We live in the age of information and a simple Google search for “men’s soccer worldwide revenue” and “women’s soccer worldwide revenue will validate my figures. Conservative platforms like Fox News have plenty of reports on the subject but I’ll give you a liberal one. The NY Times breaks down how the women and men are paid here https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/sports/soccer/usmnt-uswnt-soccer-equal-pay.html. The article is a few years old but it is quite detailed. Look, in no way am I against the women’s team here except that… Read more »

IUkicker
Reply to  Lane 4
3 years ago

Let’s not forget why Colin Kaepernick kneels. A police encounter for a young black man is very different in this country than that for a young white man. As for the women’s soccer team, their problem is not with FIFA. It’s with the governing body here in the the US where the men make more, have access to better facilities and better health care even though the women generate more revenue.

Hmmmm
3 years ago

What rights don’t women have? I’m confused. Off the top of my head they’re more likely to go to college, don’t have to sign up for the draft, less likely to go to jail (even for the same crime) compared to men, get hired 3x in stem fields over equivalent men, and in the sport of swimming are more likely to get a scholarship.

I’m all about empowering women, but at some point it feels like you’re trying to depower men.

SwimFL
Reply to  Hmmmm
3 years ago

Women don’t have the same right to be as passionate as men in anything. We are called emotional, overreacting, or irrational. I have experienced it in very subtle and in overt ways. My ideas are not given the same consideration as my male coaching counterparts because it is still a male dominated profession. I can coach just as well as any man, but my passion is viewed much differently than my male counterpart. I can say the exact same thing, but because I am often direct and concise, I am viewed as intimidating or unapproachable. I don’t apologize for the strength of my character but I have to work really hard in my delivery to make sure it done with… Read more »

Lane 4
Reply to  SwimFL
3 years ago

None of what you said has anything to do with rights. You even said you “can say the exact same thing,” that is actually a right. How a person chooses to present themselves or their thoughts doesn’t really have anything to do with rights. The way you feel about how people perceive you is in no way tied to rights.

Justin Thompson
3 years ago

As much as we would like it to be equal, part of it comes down to the the fan base. For example Basketball in the US has a much larger fan base than swimming does. Focusing in on basketball, the men’s teams draw larger crowds, which in turn brings in more sponsors, than the women’s teams do. Nike has supported social justice causes, but I don’t see them promoting women’s basketball even remotely to the extent they promote the men’s leagues. What WNBA star has a 10 figure corporate endorsement deal?

So in summary corporations will promote sports according to the demand from the fan base. Each of these sports, men’s or women’s, need to draw fans in order to… Read more »

Flyer
Reply to  Justin Thompson
3 years ago

And we can change this. If not now then when?

Nick
3 years ago

FWIW, the allocation of NCAA scholarship money in swimming skews heavily towards females, if this website (http://scholarshipforathletes.com/swimming/) is accurate. Hard to argue based on the numbers that there is rampant discrimination at the college level against females in this sport.

MEN’S
At the Division 1 level, 136 universities have swim teams for men. There are 9.9 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 1,346.4 scholarships are offered in Division 1 swimming for men.

At the Division 2 level, 67 universities have swim teams for men. There are 8.1 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 542.7 scholarships are… Read more »

barbotus
Reply to  Nick
3 years ago

Well, for openers, the numbers are significantly overstated. Because a school has an athletic program does not mean that it fully funds the sport. There are a lot of schools with no swimming money, so simply multiplying 136 schools by 9.9 is a quick, easy, and very wrong.

And the fact that “the allocation of NCAA scholarship money in swimming skews heavily towards females” is the result of 100% of NCAA scholarship money in football skewing towards males.

Taa
3 years ago

I say talk softly and carry a big stick or let your swimming do the talking. So I don’t care for Rapinoe much. I think the discussion needs to be about the treatment of Simone Manuel. I just wonder if corporate America is giving her the same opportunities that a Missy Franklin was given prior to Rio. Does our sport do enough to promote her?

A big lost opportunty was this whole Janet Evans declining a FINA position thing. I really hope she reconsiders or USA swimming can promote another female for the position. Maybe they can fast track Maya Dirado or some other qualified female I don’t know about. Sorry Maya I just nominated you to be a… Read more »

eagleswim
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

I definitely think Simone is a super marketable athlete, and I think we will see a lot more of her heading into 2020, especially if she wins another individual gold at worlds. But when it comes to accomplishments, she’s not quite at the level missy was at yet. Her stretch from 2011-2013 was incredible.

PhillyMark
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

From a recent interview, i got the impression that Simone was happy with her sponsors and that her time commitments toward those sponsors were adding up to point where she wanted to be more selective with further opportunities

Patrick
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

As fast as she is, Simone is not the heavy favorite to win individual golds, so you can’t expect corporations to pay her quite as much as Ledecky now or Missy Franklin at her peak.

PhillyMark
3 years ago

Wait, i was told this site was about swimming and we wouldnt have to think about social injustices and race relations. My allegiances have been forever altered. #Yulia&Yang2020

PS Rose Lavelle’s goal was a thing of beauty!