We Don’t Support the Women

By Dr. Boyce Watkins
Updated: June 25, 2009

WNBA NEW YORK (BASN) — My beautiful daughter Carmen just helped her school win its first state championship. She is the shortest person on team, the quickest and the scrappiest – both a lady and a monster when she has to be.

As I sat in the stands cheering like a lunatic, I noticed that there weren’t enough parents cheering along with me. The stadium was half empty, and most of the people cheering in the stands were women and children.

I wondered how these young women felt, knowing that while their stands were only partially full, the boy’s game (which they lost) had been sold out.

I couldn’t quite figure out why we don’t support women’s sport the way we should: The fundamentals of the WNBA are better than the men, and the women are incredibly talented and competitive. But after some long reflection on the disparity of support, I gave myself the answer to my own question.

When planning our trip to New York City. I said to Carmen, “How would you like to see a Knicks game?” Her eyes brightened like Times Square and she shook her head up and down so hard I thought she was going to break her neck in the process.

I then realized my mistake: While it was quite natural for me to think about inviting my daughter to a Knicks game, I didn’t think for one second to invite her to see the New York Liberty, the women’s team in the city.

I am just as sexist as the rest of us and I am embarrassed for it.

But I want to out grow my sexism, in part as a tribute to my mother, sister, and daughters. I want to understand how we as a society process women’s sport and why we don’t give it the same respect as men.

This lack of respect has translated into serious financial woes for the WNBA, as they are struggling much more than other professional sports leagues in this struggling economy.

Our girls should get the same encouragement as our boys.