Finding a place for women in sports

Rachel Allison

Women in sports are not getting the recognition they deserve, says Rachel Allison, Ph.D. candidate in sociology.

Women in sports are not getting the recognition they deserve, says grad student Rachel Allison.

Attempts at forming a national women’s soccer league have fallen through twice, Allison said at a talk Nov. 6 in the Behavioral Sciences Building.

“The presence of females in media have celebrated the fact that equality has been achieved,” said Allison, Ph.D. candidate in sociology who received the 2013 Alice J. Dan Dissertation Award. “A commercial in the ’90s had Mia Hamm, a soccer star, facing off against Michael Jordan and always beating him in whatever sport they faced off against.”

Young girls can join soccer teams, but the older they get, the less likely it is they will make a career of the sport unless more opportunities open up.

“Women in the business side see their ability to join sports teams as an opportunity to exercise their equality,” Allison said. “Males in the business will see it as how they can make the most money.”

A third attempt at a national women’s soccer league is underway with the hope that a stadium and salary can be given to the women without relying solely on profit, Allison said. Unlike their male counterparts, female leagues rarely receive donations to keep the leagues going. If the drive for profit can be avoided, then male and female leagues can coexist, she said.

“The social construction of interest is an important mechanism,” Allison said.