The Pioneer

Lack of representation for female athletes in the Bay

By Marissa Marshall, SPORTS EDITOR

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There are a total of seven professional sports teams in the Bay Area, eight if you include the Sacramento Kings. Can you guess how many of those are women’s teams?

Here’s your answer: zero.

In a region consisting of nine counties and a population of 7.15 million people, there is not a single women’s professional team. The representation of female athletes is blocked by a cloud of male dominance that restricts young girls and women from seeing themselves in positions of potential athletic prosperity like their male counterparts.

What’s in it for them? We cannot just allow girls and women to look up to men they will never be. They are women, and they are just as robust in these sports, but without representation the only source of inspiration they have to look to is men.

The last professional women’s team the Bay Area had was the San Jose Lasers, owned by current Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who were apart of the American Basketball League back in 1998 according to the Mercury News. It has been 20 years since the bay area was able to root for a professional women’s team- a sad reality.

Granted the representation of female athletes is not extremely prominent in any singular city, with Chicago being the only city in the nation that hold three teams: the Chicago Sky, Chicago Bandits, and Chicago Red Stars.

It is highly disappointing for there not to be a single team in the Bay Area. A major sports city with a history of success from teams such as the reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and San Francisco Giants

It must be far fetched to think that there should be even one professional women’s team in the Bay area. With over 7 million people in the Bay already rooting for seven different male teams, rootin for a women’s team is probably just too much to deal with.

Did you catch my sarcasm there?

Almost every major city across the nation has a professional women’s basketball team: Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. So what hinders the Bay Area from doing so? There is no valid explanation for why many of our cities, which posses a large capacity and platform to have a professional Women’s team, do not.

With support from star players such as Stephen Curry who recently advocated for female athletes and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in specific, it is clear the importance of gender representation and the value of equity is seen.

In an article Curry wrote for the Players Tribune, a media platform that allows athletes to write written content, he brought awareness to the issues of equity and closing the pay gaps between men and women, especially in the sports realm. Players understand the desperation for better representation amongst men and women.

Beyond that, it should not have to take the voice of an NBA player for women and girls to be seen, or represented. Nor a male one at that.

It is understood that the acquisition of a team requires for someone to invest and be willing to acquire one. Everything’s a business, but women and girls especially in the Bay Area should be able to aspire to be like athletes that look like them.

There is probably someone reading this in this very moment thinking to themselves that women are represented, as they think of Candace Parker, Serena Williams, Alex Morgan and the minimal professional women’s teams across the nation.

That does not override the issue of there being no female athletic representation in the Bay Area. There are different markets and populations rates across the nation, and according to Nielsen ranks, the Bay Area is ranked number six for biggest markets in the United States. Again we must ask, how is there no team?

From the WNBA to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) there is room and opportunity to instill representation for female athletes across the Bay Area.

The Bay must fill the void and give these athletes the chance to experience women flourishing and not just men. To allow female athletes to represent the city and not just men. For female athletes to grow up not wanting to be like the star player of the Warriors, but perhaps a star player of a professional women’s Bay Area team.

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