- Women in the sports industry
FRB of St. Louis
This summer marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protect people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The well-known Title IX in this legislation made equal access to athletic programs mandatory, which resulted in more women playing sports while enrolled in school. But does a more-even playing field in high school and college athletics result in comparable employment in the sports industry?
The FRED graph above shows the number of men and women working as athletes, coaches, umpires, and related occupations. Since 2000, when the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics became available, for every two women employed in sports, there are on average slightly more than seven men. At the time of this writing, gender parity in sports employment is no closer than it was 20 years ago.
Research has shown that expanding females’ participation in sports increases their labor force participation, and some data available in FRED reflect that trend in particular industries. Because we don’t have data in FRED about women in the sports industry before the passage of the Education Amendments of 1972, we can’t tell if the gender gap we described above is smaller than, equal to, or perhaps even larger than it used to be.