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Internationally Recognized Athletics Administrator Discusses Gender Inequality in Sports
Dr. Donna A. Lopiano, an advocate and national expert on gender equity in sport, says that despite decades of progress, the score is still not even when it comes to men’s and women’s sports.
April 10, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Jalynn Finnie ’22 a member of the University of New Haven’s women’s volleyball team, identified with many of the points that Dr. Donna A. Lopiano, an internationally recognized athletics administrator, made while addressing the University community.
"As a female student athlete, I knew that there was a gender gap," said Finnie, an international business major. "Dr. Lopiano’s talk helped me to realize how far we have come as a society, but that we still have a long way to go. Her talk was very inspiring."
"It is not enough to whine about something that’s not right – you have to change it."Dr. Donna A. Lopiano
As part of the Allen Sack Lecture Series – named in honor of the longtime-professor who founded the University’s sport management program – Lopiano, the former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the president and founder of the consulting firm Sports Management Resources, told her own story about how she was not allowed to play baseball as a child because she was a girl.
Suggesting that fear has been at the root of women’s exclusion from sports, Lopiano discussed societal beliefs that women were physiologically incapable of playing sports, and that female athletes would become "manly."
"It is not enough to whine about something that’s not right – you have to change it," said Lopiano. "It takes three generations – 60 years – to manage cultural change. It requires persistence over time."
"I think the bigger issue is that we need to address inequality by looking at how we talk about women’s sports as a whole."Najaya Royal ’20
Calling for societal changes and more opportunities for high school students to play sports, Lopiano said that the media’s coverage of women’s athletics must also change.
Najaya Royal ’20, a communication major, agreed with her message.
"I wasn’t surprised by what Dr. Lopiano’s said," said Royal. "We need to change many aspects of how we communicate, and we need more racial and gender representation in sports. I think the bigger issue is that we need to address inequality by looking at how we talk about women’s sports as a whole."