This spring, the Feinberg Family Fund sponsored a series of lectures on gender in sports. The fund was established by Robert Feinberg ’78 and his wife, Robbi, in 2003 to support discussion on women in the workplace, and this year’s theme focused on college and professional athletics.
“The series is important because it highlights the many ways in which inequity in the workplace and gender stereotypes affect women’s lives,” said Mary McCune, director of Oswego’s gender and women’s studies department. “It reveals how far women have come in the field of sports but also how much progress remains to be made.”
The first of these events featured Oswego professors Sharity Bassett and Evelyn Clark Benavides and Tracy Bruno, who is the women’s basketball coach. All three women presented on their research about issues with gender inequality in professional sports. Specifically, these professors have researched discrimination based on gender, race and sex, and the outcomes of negative stereotypes against female athletes.
Susan Ware continued the series in March with a discussion on the history of Title IX, and the significance of Billie Jean King, the subject of her new book Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports.
Ware emphasized the importance of Title IX’s impact on women’s sports in schools. She expressed admiration when she discovered that Oswego offers the same number of teams for men and women, and women make up about 45 percent of all athletes in the school’s population.
The series concluded in April with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1976. For years Switzer has advocated for equal opportunities for women in sports, and has spoken about possibilities for women in all aspects of their lives.
“You have got such an incredibly bright future,” Switzer told students. “But you might not have any idea what that future is, so start paying attention to everything that’s going on in your life. Take the negatives and turn them into opportunities … and believe in yourself, you can do better and be better than you ever imagined.”
—Kelly Walters ’16
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