Gender inequity in Gazette’s UMass basketball headlines

Published: 3/15/2021 1:18:59 PM It’s my favorite time of the year. I love college basketball. I love March Madness. I love it even ...

Published: 3/15/2021 1:18:59 PM

It’s my favorite time of the year. I love college basketball. I love March Madness. I love it even more this year because it was one of the first events canceled in March 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

I enjoy watching the coverage of teams across the country and in particular, have enjoyed watching UMass basketball make a run through the Atlantic-10 tournament into the conference championship.

But you’re thinking to yourself, UMass basketball lost to St. Louis in the quarterfinals. I’m not talking about the team that lost to St. Louis. I’m talking about the seventh-seeded team that, with only seven available players, made it to the championship on Sunday against VCU.

There’s a limit with my language and there is a problem with yours. A search of the headlines for UMASS sports demonstrates a pattern. The Gazette referred to the Minutemen as “UMas basketball” while the Minutewomen are identified as “UMass Women’s Basketball” in every single title back to Jan. 21, 2021.

This is an easy fix. It’s a fix that establishes equity when naming the sports rather than centering the men’s team as “real” basketball while othering women. During women’s history month and at a time when basketball spectating is at its peak, we need to get this right.

This adjustment won’t rectify the massive equity gap in men’s and women’s sports in our local area, across the nation, and globally. Women receive about 4% of sports media coverage. Sports journalism, as a profession, is still vastly dominated by men. When women athletes are covered by the media, production quality is often lower and sexism seeps into commentary.

While specifying the men’s basketball team and women’s basketball team as such will not solve these and the many other problems entrenched in sport stemming from sexism, racism and homophobia, it’s a start. It sends an implicit message to young girls who will fall in love with the sport as young as I did that their participation is valued and encouraged the same way a boy’s participation is.

Elizabeth M. Mullin


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Newsrust - US Top News: Gender inequity in Gazette’s UMass basketball headlines
Gender inequity in Gazette’s UMass basketball headlines
Newsrust - US Top News
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