May 21, 2019 8:31 pm

Wednesday, We Investigate Gender Bias and Inequality in Professional Sports

It’s happening, slowly but surely. Society is realizing that “gender,” as a concept, is a construct created by an older version of the world. In the new age, people are being awakened to the idea that there is much more fluidity and expression than one might have thought possible. However, gender inequality and discrimination are still happening. Everywhere. Especially in professional sports.

Photo of Heather O’Reilly, courtesy of Heather O’Reilly.

Courtesy of Heather O’Reilly.

On this episode of Playing with Science, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice investigate the data behind the bias and what it’s like from someone who’s experienced it: World Cup winner and 3x Olympic Gold Medalist Heather O’Reilly. Crunching the numbers for us is Dr. Andrew Zimbalist, economist and author of Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change, The International Handbook on the Economics of Mega-Sport Events, and Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup, just to name a few.

We start with Dr. Zimbalist as he gives us the global perspective and the how and why gender bias and discrimination are happening, and if he thinks it will change. You’ll find out which sports are leading the charge for equal pay. We discuss the consequences of the lawsuit brought on by the US Women’s National Team players against US Soccer. You’ll learn about the usual arguments made to justify unequal pay. Andrew also tells us the role that the media plays in keeping this discrimination cycle going and how they can stop re-enforcing the status quo.

Then, we sit down with the US Soccer legend herself, Heather O’Reilly. You’ll find out how Heather’s upbringing influenced her career path. You’ll hear about the important role of Title IX. She shares the importance of watching the 1999 World Cup and the imprint the US Team left on her 14-year-old self. You’ll also hear her thoughts about the lawsuit against US Soccer and how “there has been institutionalized bias and gender discrimination for decades at US Soccer.”

We explore how athletes can use their time in the spotlight to use their platforms for good. Discover more about Heather’s work with Athlete Ally. You’ll also learn why Heather believes soccer is one of the most important vehicles for social change. All that, plus, Heather gives advice to her younger self and young people preparing to take on the world.

Please join us tomorrow night for Gender Inequality in Sports, with Heather O’Reilly, right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen