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“We Don’t Get Enough Recognition”: Francis Lewis Female Athletes Speak Out

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“We Don’t Get Enough Recognition”: Francis Lewis Female Athletes Speak Out

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The female players are on their toes as they follow the volleyball with their eyes and quickly shift position. The game speeds up, and a rally lasts for minutes as the two teams fight for the last point and victory. As the Francis Lewis Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team earn their victory they explode in cheers. Looking out to the bleachers, less than 20 people are there to witness the dramatic win.

Female athletes at Francis Lewis High School have voiced that there is an unfair trend in support and recognition of their teams. Complaints related to attention, attendance, and publicity are common amongst these athletes.

“Our team doesn’t really get people to go to our games,” said Jaiden Venute, a member of the girls’ varsity volleyball team.  “We don’t get announcements or recognition from anybody which is shown by how many people will go to our games opposed to everyone else’s.”

Venute is not alone in her opinion. 

“I feel like we don’t get enough recognition,” said Kristina Arvelo, who plays on the girls varsity basketball team. She later added, “There is also a huge difference in the amount of people that come.”

Issues with recognition are noticed with female athletes outside of Francis Lewis as well. Although there is still coverage and publicity of female sports, it is just not as much and not as often. Publicity is a big aspect of female athletes receiving less recognition and support. Along with this, male athletes’ accomplishments tend to be highlighted more often than female athletes’ in general. According to a study on the exclusion of women’s sports in televised news and highlight shows, female sports have gotten less than 10% of coverage time in relation to its total coverage time.

“You always are hearing about a famous male athlete and never a woman,” said Arvelo. “People don’t take women athletes as serious as they do men. They think they are boring.”

Stephen Tsai, who coaches the girls varsity basketball team, has also noticed more support from parents at the girls basketball games compared to the boys basketball games.

“There is definitely more viewership in the boys games than the girls,” said Tsai. “However, that is also reflected in women’s basketball in college and in the WNBA. Students may feel that they get a more athletic, exciting performance at the boys’ games. In recent years, to acknowledge the differences in play, there have even been some rule changes to try and make women’s basketball games more uptempo and exciting.”

However, changes in rules haven’t had any drastic effects to viewership. Although games have become more exciting to watch, attendance for most female sports still remains lower than males.   

“Part of it could be that there is a stigma of sexism,” said Venute. “Students don’t really care to watch girls play because they don’t think that girls can do it as much as boys can and also because there is personal bias towards how good the game is going to be, you know? Competitions, rivalries, everyone thinks it’s better with guys.”

Female athletes put in the same amount of hours and work into their sports, especially those at Francis Lewis. Our sports teams, male and female, take the competition seriously as the goal is to win for themselves and for our school.

“Nothing is more frustrating than working really hard and not having your hard work being recognized,” said Swornim Shrestha, who is on the Girls’ Wrestling team, and Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball team. “We work just as hard as the boys, if not harder because we constantly have to prove that we are just as good as the boys. We are not only competing against other schools but also against the boys’ teams in order to be recognized.”

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“We Don’t Get Enough Recognition”: Francis Lewis Female Athletes Speak Out