The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Sexism in WIS Sports?

WIS girls varsity soccer celebrate a goal. Defender Riley Contee scores for the first time in high school. (Nico Vallada/International Dateline)

For years, many WIS students and parents claim that there is unfair treatment of girls in the athletics department. The main source of controversy stems from the girls’ varsity soccer team. Players’  grievances range from lack of support at games, to time on the field, to dress code. 

The majority of female athletes agree that the school administration and coaches are only partially responsible for the discrimination against girls in sports some of it stems from the student body attitudes as well.  

During WIS  2019 homecoming games, the girls’ game had a barely existent fan base whereas the boys game, just an hour and a half earlier, had the support of much of the school behind them. This disparity was partly due to the scheduling of the games which favored the boys.  

Lulu Moore, a WIS alum and former varsity soccer and basketball player,  points out the underlying sexist mentality in sports that contributes to this inequality, “I think there is going to be sexism, period, in any sport because there is this idea that girls can’t be athletic, which isn’t true” Moore said.  She believes any sexism happening at WIS is not purposeful.  

Story continues below advertisement

Many girls from varsity soccer notice that there is little support for their teams. “No one shows up to our games unless it is extremely convenient. Most of the time, the only people there are our parents,” Ana Diaz-Young, a sophomore on the girls’ varsity soccer team, said.  

The girls’ team historically performs extremely well, winning the PVAC four years in a row, yet despite their success, the team is not as widely respected as the boys. 

In early November, the girls played the PVAC semi-final game before the boys played theirs on the same field. The referees pressured the girls to start their game early and possibly cut it short so the boys would have time to play. This trend of prioritizing the boys’ team is not new and has occurred since middle school. Since the referees are not exclusive to WIS, the issue of sexism in sports is likely more widespread within the PVAC than just the WIS  community. 

One of the main concerns from the girls’ teams is that, even during preseason, when the temperatures reach extremely high levels, female athletes are not allowed to practice in sports bras. While it is true that technically the boys are not allowed to practice shirtless, the rule is not severely enforced on them in the same way it is for the girls. Captain of the varsity cross country team Maddy Connolly expressed her grievances stating “we are told that the dress code still applies to athletes, however, it doesn’t seem to be enforced until we ask to run in just sports bras”.. 

Overall, WIS does not openly or purposefully discriminate against girls’ sports, nonetheless, there can be measures taken, with regards to the dress code, scheduling and student support, to make the treatment of athletes more equitable, regardless of their gender. With the current political climate, equality for women in sports, even at the high school level, is becoming essential to the fight for overall gender equality. 

Julia Dell’Ariccia

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *