I am writing in response to Jenna Cocullo’s opinion piece, Let the Girls Play, from July 25th, 2019. Upon my initial analysis of the article, I was inclined to construct a response. However, I became hesitant due to the possibility of a burning controversy. Nevertheless, this article was an opinion piece, and as such, I have the full liberty to provide a new perspective. I understand Jenna’s underlying message embedded within this article; by deciphering the role of women in sports, she wished to raise awareness about women’s rights and the inequality they face. Be that as it may, though bearing good intentions, Jenna applied the incorrect approach.
Since time immemorial, gender equality and women’s rights abuses have been a trademark on the United Nations’ agenda. In fact, in article 1 of the UN charter, it states that one of their prime concerns is “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” There are countries in the world where women are denied the right to an education, forced into marriage, treated with violence, and stripped of legal rights, such as the ability to vote and own property. Despite the many horrendous injustices committed against women worldwide, the so-called “feminist” movement has gained a bad reputation. Instead of stopping the horrors happening abroad, people are on an endless witch hunt to find inequality in western countries; even though Canada is one of the world’s greatest advocates for gender equality.
A common issue pinpointed in Canada is the alleged wage gap. The Canadian Women’s foundation claims that women earn 69 cents for every dollar earned by men; this statement is, in fact true. What is misinterpreted, is the context. In Canada, we have the Pay Equity Act, and the Employment Equity Act. These ensure equal pay and opportunities for men and women. A man and women working the same job will receive the same pay. Men simply earn more on average due to higher level careers and a greater percentage of full time workers. In her opinion piece, Jenna stated that “female athletes are paid less than their male counterparts.” This is not inequality at play, it is simple economics. Male sporting events generally draw much greater interest, resulting in high revenue and high wages. Women sporting events still pay the athletes the same percentage, they just make less revenue. Thereby resulting in lower wages.
Jenna’s article was structured around the notion of complete equality in sports. She proposed to “[mix] men and women on high school teams” and dreamed that the “NHL and World Cup will be co-ed.” These fairytale conceptions are not champions of equality, as Jenna would suggest, but rather an absurd and delusional notion. The separation of men and women in sports is in no reality intended to suppress women; it actually gives them a better chance to succeed. As Jenna mentioned, men and women are biologically different. Women hold certain advantages over men and vice versa. Men are, by nature, biologically stronger and more physically literate than women. This is not a sexist comment; it is a simple fact. Sporting events like the NBA finals and the men’s FIFA World Cup draw greater crowds because they offer a much greater level of competition than their female counterparts. A co-ed olympics will never be possible because men have a clear advantage. Pulling apart perfectly good issues and hysterically calling it inequality is not feminism; it is far from it. This can only be described as a direct insult to women suffering from real human rights violations. So next time, as Jenna put it, “Think before you type.”