Inequality between Male and Female Students

College athletes, as a whole, are privileged in the sense that they exclusively receive additional guidance and resources that non-student-athletes do not have available for them. As a student-athlete, one holds the expectation to have the ability to balance out school and sports, while also succeeding in both aspects. It is a given that they will create unique experiences in comparison to others around their age and generation. However, college athletes do not have the same experiences amongst themselves. Instead, there is a barrier between male and female student-athletes.

This barrier can be explained by the male privilege, and explains the inequality between collegiate male and female athletes.

Exploring the inequalities between male and female collegiate athletes is of importance because the differences explain the perpetuation of male dominance and the inhibition of female power and influence in today’s society. College athletics serves as a platform for the male population to be recognized exclusively, but also silently. As these specific male athletes and teams are exposed to the rest of society, their behaviors and personalities are highly influential, especially to younger generations.

According to “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities,” boys introduced to organized sports learn to find themselves involved in an exclusively male world and “development of gender identity involves the construction of positional identities, where a sense of self is solidified through separation of others” (Eitzen, 2012). In other words, these boys begin to understand that their participation in organized sports correlates with their domination among each other and the female population.

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These young generations are the future of society, and when they notice the kind of attention collegiate athletes receive, they learn to value sports and the competitive edge that comes with the participation in such athletic activities. More specifically, young males begin to replicate the male privilege and expectations. These replications continue throughout generations, prolonging the societal notion of male dominance over sports and the female population. These inequalities display the lack of female power and influence in society, because the female population seems to overall receive less than the male population.

This creates the notion that females need to work that much harder than males to make a change, which has mostly become widely accepted by society. Along with less privilege, however, the female population has also learned to uplift each other and build empowerment amongst themselves. Although females seem to lack a sense of domination, they promote the idea of unity through empowerment within each other. This kind of motive in females drives them to seeking participation in organized sports to help improve their physical, mental, and social health. In addition, there is evidence that gender violence and discrimination toward females have reduced more with more participation in sports, thus further producing a much closer to equal status for females in comparison to males (Dubey, Dubey, and Acharya, 2010). This is important for females of younger generations to notice, as this can possibly reduce and diminish the inequalities in the future.

The hegemonic image of society is portrayed through this specific topic, as dominance of the male population and sports is very evident and influential toward society. Here, males have hegemony. As mentioned earlier, the mass media is responsible for the high exposure of collegiate athletics, especially male athletes and teams. Spectator sports are watched very often, causing value toward them to continue to grow the longer it perpetuates throughout the years.

Economical and political institutions have record of promoting health and fitness. For example, there is evidence of many movements that put forth further importance of youth physical activity. The Let’s Move Campaign, established in the year 2010 and ran by Michelle Obama, the First Lady, lead to spread awareness and prevention of childhood obesity by influencing youth to engage in outside physical activity, such as sports (Eschmeyer, 2017). As this campaign rose in popularity through the exposure on mass television, especially on kid-friendly channels, athletics in all aspects also gained popularity. Society began to relate this promotion to the importance of improving oneself for the sake of succeeding in sports. Sports and the idea of success is drilled into the minds of society, and this is how the replication of such popular culture continues as years pass (Sage, 1998).

As hegemony prolongs, it becomes much more difficult to change and neutralize because the male population has learned to sustain its dominance in society. In addition, females have learned to accept that they have to put in more work and effort into everything in order to succeed and be given similar opportunities as the male population. However, as these inequalities continue, females begin to empower themselves to the point of realization for change to happen in society. This kind of change would not happen easily and overnight, however the smallest difference nowadays will eventually add up to make a turn-around in this hegemonic society.

The inequality between male and female collegiate athletes rises from the imbalance of funding amongst the two populations. The enforcement of Title IX in college athletics has decreased this imbalance and generally provided female athletes a better opportunity to compete, however there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area (Shipley, 1997). School tuition at many universities includes contributional funding for the schools’ athletics program. In the past several years, universities have increased mandatory student fees by about more than $10 billion, to be pumped back into athletic programs (Wolverton, et al., 2015).

While this may seem unfair toward non-athletes attending the university, it is also unfair for the female athletic population, including individual athletes and sports teams. Majority of the contributional funding goes toward efforts of the universities’ football teams and most other male sports teams. It is believed by dominant institutions that they receive this much additional funding because they bring in a large amount of money to the university itself. According to the NCAA Equity in Athletics Cutting Tool, football revenue makes up about 70% of total revenue amongst all athletic teams at Oregon State University. In addition, football receives more than half of the athletics program total expenses (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). While this seems like distributions are being made fair, the indirect effect toward female sports and athletes is intense and discouraging. A female sports team could be performing just as well or even better than other male sports teams, however because of hegemony and male privilege, these male athletes will continue to receive more.

Funds can be utilized toward upgrades in high-performance factors of collegiate sports, such as facilities, uniforms, gear, and traveling opportunities. Male athletes, especially those on the college football or basketball teams, have the opportunity to train and perform in more luxurious facilities than female athletes may be able to. These facilities are upgraded much more frequently and improved in safety, technology, size, and space.

They provide male athletes a more comfortable and convenient experience at the collegiate level. On the other hand, less funding toward female sports inhibits the availability for similar experiences of comfort, convenience, and professionalism. It is evident that the presence of football teams within a university’s athletics program has a negative effect on the compliance with gender equity and “proportion of all expenditures allocated to women athletes,” (Rishe, 1999). Female athletes, in many cases, are unable to maximize their performances and athletic abilities when their training facilities lack aspects of quantity and quality. This can affect competitive performance and ability outside of their home venue and in competitive situations.

In addition, providing these female athletes with the proper equipment and safety precautions is very important for the the protection of their athletic experience at such an elite level (Eitzen, 2012). Since these female athletic positions are so limited, it is highly favorable for physical prevention to be incorporated, and the presence of quality facilities and equipment will help with that. Some will argue that if a team is successful with what they have utilized, then there would be no need to change anything that could possibly affect the team’s outstanding previous performances. However, upgrades in facilities and advanced equipment would benefit female athletes and teams overall. Currently, male athletes are able to maximize their performances in new facilities more often than female athletes. In other words, male athletes are given more opportunities to better themselves athletically.

Other kinds of funding can prove the inequality among collegiate male and female student-athlete experiences. There is evidence that female athletes have had to use gear of other male teams, or share with other female teams in the past. As female athletes experience this, male athletes receive new gear and uniforms for the new competitive seasons. Another example that displays inequality among collegiate male and female athletes is the fact that male sports receive more funding for available scholarships and other endowments. Male student-athletes receive 55% of NCAA athletic scholarships dollars, and the remaining 45% is allocated to female student-athletes (Women’s Sports Foundation, 2015). This can further explain and support the notion that female athletes still do not receive equal opportunities to compete at the collegiate level in their sports.

Correlating with the lack of funding for collegiate female sports, they also receive less media exposure in comparison to collegiate male sports. A prime example of this is the imbalance of media exposure between NCAA mens and womens basketball. The differences in physical performance can explain this imbalance, as spectators are more attracted to the aggressiveness and comparative athletic ability of males. According to studies, sex is major factor that influences prime performances and records in athletes. Genetically, males are stronger than females, and therefore exhibiting more fascinating athleticism that females may not be able to execute (Thibault, et al., 2010). In addition, spectators can be more physically attracted to the athletes individually. An increase in spectators of a specific sport is highly influential of the amount of media exposure that sport will receive.

However, there is another explanation that supports this example of inequality between collegiate male and female athletes. Common issues have been noted in the past about the coverage of female sports, including “sexualization…, racism…, homophobia…, and the focus on women off the field rather than on their abilities,” (Grappendorf, 2013). While it may seem wonderful that these are of concern to society as it is harmful for the female athletes themselves, these issues should not be seen as negative content toward society. What is considered “unacceptable” to society becomes realized and learned by audiences as they are exposed to less female sports content. This, in turn, causes male sports to increase in media coverage and build more popularity than female sports because people are “worried” about how the audience will react to the exposure of female athletes. Title IX has decreased the intensity of these kinds of discrimination toward female athletes, however the presence of social and diversity issues, and the lack of inclusion and leadership in collegiate sports still prevail in society.

In regards to college education, male athletes tend to struggle more in this aspect. Female athletes in comparison are more successful educationally because of their belief that they need to work harder in order to live a secure and stable life in the future after their collegiate career. In addition to having this belief, females have higher interests in high-paying jobs because having that kind of occupation allows them to have the financial stability to raise a family and live happily. To maximize their educational experience in college, female athletes are more likely than male athletes to participate in curricular and co-curricular activities (Potuto and O’Hanlon, 2007). These female athletes refuse to miss opportunities offered to them that could potentially benefit them in the future, whether it be learning new life skills or building connections with different kinds of people in society.

Male athletes on the other hand, have similar proactivity in seeking a stable life after college, however they focus majorly on making it to the next level, which is professional sports. Accomplishing entrance into the professional league and succeeding there gives these male athletes the confidence and motivation to give back to their families and mentors that helped them get there. The want to give back acts as a motive for these male athletes. There are exemplary pro-athletes out there that they look up to and wish to replicate their efforts toward the community. According to studies, a larger percentage of male athletes respond that athletics is the primary reason for their choice of major in college (Potuto and O’Hanlon, 2007).

In addition, these male athletes identify more as an athlete than a good student. Because of such a high value for living a plentiful life, male athletes lack the initiative to look into alternative routes after college and come up with a back-up plan. Without a back-up plan and the value of a college education itself, it is likely that male athletes realize they are in a place of uncertainty after their collegiate career comes to an end. In some cases, however, male student-athletes perceive college education as beyond the grades, being “book-smart”, and getting a degree in a specific area. Rather, some of these athletes see college education as the opportunity to further learn independence and the ability to deal with “real-life” issues (Singer, 2016). This kind of perception on college education alters their education in a way where they do not put so much emphasis in succeeding in the classroom. Also, this perception can be explained by the shared male trait of prolonging a dominant and influential role in society. They therefore put forth more focus athletically during their college career. These males slack in maximizing their educational experiences, only spending their time in college to improve their athletic ability and depend on their physical performances for absolute success.

The presence of the inequality in experiences and opportunities among collegiate male and female athletes can be explained and portrayed by the male privilege, a social construct that has been developed over time and replicated over many years. These inequalities were not purposely put upon the collegiate student-athlete population, but rather began as widely accepted as “how things are and run” in society. Aside from this, there is much evidence that displays an increase in the inclusion of collegiate female athletes. The enforcement of Title IX holds great responsibility for this improvement in society.

While the male privilege is very likely to still withstand the forces that the female athletic population have begun to generate toward society and its current hegemonic beliefs, it is important to note that this societal perspective will be difficult to completely change. Many efforts are in the process of reducing some of these imbalances among collegiate male and female athletes, and although it will take much time, it is much more beneficial for these less-privileged female athletes to experienced minor but positive changes, to further influence the need for a change to the upcoming generations.

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Inequality between Male and Female Students. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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