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Your Voice: A Student Publication


Your Voice: A Student Publication


Pity Project or Future of Women’s Sports? – Class Essay

The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times

Dear people who still think women’s professional basketball is a pity project, 

Throughout history, women have continuously been downgraded for competing in what most people call a “man’s world.” Specifically, sports have always been an area that has denigrated or mocked females’ strength and ability to perform to the “same” standards as a man. For example, dunking is extremely popular in the men’s league but isn’t in the women’s. One thing you have to consider is that the ability to dunk doesn’t define the game. Don’t get me wrong. I love to watch a good dunk, but I also love to watch Caitlin Clark’s eyes spark when she hits a deep three, or Elizabeth Kitley’s determination to be a lockdown defender in every game. These female players are just the very few that I can list but are equivalent to Jason Tatum and Anthony Edwards to you, as these women are to me. Although I can’t change the difference in pay between the WNBA and the NBA overnight, we can attempt to increase the WNBA’s revenue by watching and attending their games. 

Let’s consider Caitlin Clark who has taken the world by storm. She is the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer, and one of the greatest players in women’s college basketball history. Her popularity propels people to watch Iowa’s games, and a total of 4 million television viewers are estimated to be the most watched games since 1999 which were UCONN vs Tennessee. Her introduction to the WNBA will completely change women’s basketball. Clark will end up leaving a generational imprint on the sport, and continue to inspire young females across the country. Her playing in the WNBA will pull in millions of viewers to watch her play, which would help create a higher salary for her teammates and many more. Michael Pachter states in an article in the New York Times: “You do need women like Caitlin Clark who are so great that you can’t miss them. The WNBA needs more eye-catching players who have the drive and passion for the sport, because it draws the attention into the game.  Clark was the number one pick in the WNBA draft in which she was signed to the Indiana Fever and will earn about $338,000 over the next four years. This doesn’t include the $3 million she is currently making in endorsements. This type of media coverage and the rapidly growing number of women’s college basketball fans open doors to a new era of female sports. Caitlin Clark is truly only the beginning of what’s to come with many to follow after her. 

 Some may say men’s basketball is more exciting because of the dunking, but that’s not true because men are a lot taller than females making them unable to dunk. Most females in the WNBA are an average 6 feet tall, unlike men who are an average 6.6 feet tall. This allows them to dunk more because of their height, and it also gives them other benefits. That’s one of the reasons women do layups: they are physically unable to dunk. And what I mean by that is that it’s not impossible to dunk, there is just a lower percentage of women who can. 

The league minimum salary in the NBA is $1.12 million per year and the WNBA salary is only $116.58 thousand per year.  That is a dramatic difference that displays how TV coverage and publicity affect not only the game but also the players. I hope to reveal the differences between two very different yet similar associations and provide players with the pay they deserve. As I previously talked about, people tend to prefer watching men’s basketball over women’s because it’s more relatable to the audience that’s watching. The author writes that in 2022, 20,000 people attended an NBA game and 10,000 people attended a WNBA game. Even though this might not seem like much you still haven’t added the advertising that is put out to the public. The author also mentions college sports and how there are around 3,000 more people who attend men’s college basketball. How are you going to know a WNBA team is playing without social media? Players are receiving less revenue due to the lack of spectators, not enough people are attending games and watching online, therefore there isn’t enough money being paid to players. So the problem is not that the women aren’t working hard enough to deserve the pay, but that their revenue isn’t high enough to support the growing association. 

Growing up I was always told about how Kobe Bryant just scored over 60 points in a single game or when the Grizzlies traded Sam Young to the 76ers for the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez. But instead of seeing someone I could connect with to build dreams and goals of my own, I saw someone who looked nothing like me. As I got older I slowly found the sport that I truly cared about and wanted to pursue, but not until recently did I discover college and professional athletes that made me want to reach those dreams even more. I’ve been playing basketball for 5 years now and it has ultimately changed my life in every way possible. It has taught me life lessons that I truly value and allowed me to try to go somewhere with it. I spend hours year round working on my skills attempting to perfect every one of them in the hopes that I’ll go to college for it. Of course, just playing in college would be more than I’d ever ask for but for the millions of girls my age who want to make a living on basketball, they are faced with the gender pay disparity that is unfair for any girl who has the same dreams as a boy. 


Works Cited

Nerkar, Santul. “For Women’s Basketball, Caitlin Clark’s Lasting Impact May Be Economic.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024, 

Williams, Kelly L., et al. “Social Justice and Animal Welfare.” HumanePro, Accessed 6 May 2024. 

Wigley, Reed. “Male vs Female Professional Sports Salary Comparison.” Adelphi University Online, 1 Dec. 2023, 

Reasons, Five. “Basic Differences between Men’s & Women’s Basketball.” Five Reasons Sports Network, Five Reasons, 2 May 2023, Basketball,the%20 WNBA%20 measure%2028.5%20 inches. 


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