Wide gender gap in coaching pro and high school sports

Carly Waldorph, Staff Writer

In professional sports, it’s quickly noticeable that there aren’t nearly as many female coaches as there are male. It’s often questioned why men’s teams are almost always coached by men, yet many female teams have male coaches.

Female representation among coaches has decreased within the past few decades. Many women are part of a coaching staff, but few have taken the position of head coach.

Branham is currently in the winter sports season, with five teams including girls/boys basketball, girls/boys soccer, and wrestling. Out of these five teams, there are no female head coaches.

Branham has 20 sports throughout the school year, and only 6 of those teams have female head coaches. Those include both traditional and competitive cheer, boys/girls volleyball, field hockey, and badminton.

Why is it that female discrimination has been an issue for so long, yet males are still dominating the majority of the coaching staff in sports?

Not only is gender discrimination and sexism a problem at Branham, but it is also a common issue in society.

Recently, the San Francisco Giants hired an assistant coach, Alyssa Nakken, to be the first full-time female coach in Major League Baseball history. Since MLB was established in 1869, it is shocking that Nakken was the first to take the position just this year.

Not very many female coaches are seen coaching men’s teams. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some collegiate athletic programs are almost 100% run by men.

Males are not only coaching a majority of men’s teams but they are for women’s teams as well. In 1972, women coached more than 90 percent of women’s teams. Today, they coach fewer than half.

Often when a male coaches a girls team, the girls cannot relate to the coach regarding personal or physical issues, as easily as they could with a female coach. When girls have a female coach, it is easier for them to ask for support from their coach.

Branham’s Athletic Director Landon Jacobs agrees.

“It’s very beneficial for young female athletes to have impactful relationships with female coaches,” he said.

People are beginning to try and solve this issue, but it will take time. Branham’s Athletic Administrative Assistant and girls/boys volleyball coach, Heather Cooper, said that “It’s unfortunate that there are so few female coaches either at a head or assistant coach role.

“It is strange that now in 2020, there still seems to be less acceptance of a woman coach,” she said. “I know that that is changing but it is very slow.”

Women deserve the chance to be given the same opportunities as men, and society is beginning to acknowledge women as just as capable as men.

“Hopefully the sporting world is becoming more receptive to females taking a lead on a team,” Cooper said.