Women In Softball Gender Conciousness Suny Farmingdale Soc 200 Research Paper

3122 words - 13 pages

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It has taken many years for women to gain some sort of equality in sports. Throughout history, women have been both excluded from playing sports and discriminated against in sports. Men’s sports have always dominated the college athletic field, but women were finally given a fighting chance after Title IX was passed, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX, amongst other things, requires scholarships to be equally balanced between men and women’s sports. Although this was a huge gain for women, gender inequality still exists in sports today. An example of this persisting inequality can be seen when looking at men’s baseball and women’s softball. In college, baseball and softball are both major NCAA sports. It is widely accepted throughout today’s society that baseball is a man’s sport, and softball is a woman’s sport. Very few people question why the two sexes are separated into two different sports, or wonder why women play softball instead of baseball. Fewer people know that women have been essentially excluded from playing baseball for a long time. This paper will focus on why certain sports have not changed the way women’s basketball has, why women continue to play softball, the possibilities and dynamics of women playing baseball with and without men, and the most discriminating aspect of women being banned from playing professional baseball.
James Naismith created basketball as a sport in 1891, and it quickly became popular among both men and women. It initially started with the same rules for each gender, but according to Patricia Cain in her article, “Women, Race, and Sports: Life Before Title IX,” the rules quickly changed for women. Cain (2001) states that, “Almost immediately, however, some educators began changing the rules of basketball for women” (p. 340-341). These changes to women’s basketball were very drastic, and very different from men’s basketball. The initial changes to women’s basketball games in 1901 consisted of dividing the court into three divisions, and having six total players. Two players were assigned to each division of the court, and they were not allowed to leave their division. Furthermore, they were only allowed one dribble each, and physical contact was forbidden (Cain, 2001, p. 341). In 1938, these changes were slightly modified. The three court divisions were changed to two court divisions, with three players in each division. Once again, the players were not allowed to leave their divisions. Only the forwards were allowed to shoot the ball, and free throws were given for fouls. (Cain, 2001, p. 341). By the 1970’s, women in college basketball had five players and full-court rules, and although some states changed half-court to full-court for high school basketball, other states kept the half-court rules. Many attempts were made to change this, primarily by filing suits to claim that women’s rights were being violated. The first successful suit was Dodson v. Arkansas Activities...

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