Letters to the Editor

Title ? IX

In a survey I recently created and conducted of 63 Andover Varsity athletes, including every Varsity Captain, 33 responses were from females. Over 87 percent of female athletes who responded said that they believed sexism, defined as “boys’ teams getting favoritism or priority over girls’ teams or as male athletes getting treated like they are more legitimate than female athletes,” exists at Andover. Despite almost 42 years since the passing of Title IX and 40 years of co-education, female athletes at Andover still feel that they are treated as inferior to their male counterparts.

One place where a gender divide is apparent is in regards to Head Coaches at the Varsity level. Of the 16 male and four co-ed varsity sports, every single one is coached by a man. Of the 15 female varsity sports, however, only eight are coached by women. Thus, just eight out of 35 — less than a quarter — of Head Coaches are female. Every male athlete at Andover has a male coach and therefore, a role model to look up to, yet half of the female Varsity athletes do not have a female role model in their sport.

There exists a fundamentally different expectation for female coaches versus male coaches. The abundance of male coaches compared to female is not acknowledged as a problem, and that is a red flag in and of itself. Male coaches are automatically accepted and respected by female teams and it is viewed as socially acceptable for males to coach females, but not the reverse. This problem is not unique to Andover — for example, a “USA Today” article published on November 12, 2013, stated that there have been no female head coaches in Division I men’s basketball, and only three women have become full-time assistants on Division I men’s college basketball staffs. The article cites a lack of women actively seeking coaching jobs due to the lack of female role models encouraging others to cross gender lines as a factor in the lack of representation of women in coaching positions.

Multiple other examples of sexism resulted from my conversations with both male and female Varsity Andover athletes. Female athletes talked about feeling unwelcome in the free weight area of the gym by the male athletes. As a result, many girls rearrange their schedules so they can go to the gym when male athletes are not there. Another example brought up is the boy’s locker room in the gym. It just got completely renovated for somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000, as reported by The Phillipian in September, yet the article cites, “There is currently no plan to renovate the girls’ locker room.”

Problems of preference like these are not unique to Andover and, in fact, they are much bigger than Andover itself. According to an article published in the “New York Times” on April 2, 2012, the average salary of a coach for a N.C.A.A. Division I men’s team for any sport was $267,007 in 2010, while the average salary for the coach of a women’s team was $98,106.

The harsh reality across athletics at every level is that, as a whole, people don’t support female sports as much as they support male sports. I do think that strides in the right direction have been made due to Title IX and actions taken over the years by the athletic department. Though discrimination against me as a female athlete is no longer blatant, it is still present every time I feel uncomfortable lifting or every time I have a male coach and my male counterpart doesn’t have a female coach. After 40 years of co-education at Andover, it is time to open a dialogue to work towards a solution for the sexism that remains within the Athletic Department.

Co-signed by:

Angela Batuure ’13

Laura Bucklin ’14

David Cao ’14

David Cho ’14

Henry DeRuff ’14

Greg Devlin ’14

Renée LaMarche ’14

Harshita Gaba ’14

Meghana Jayam ’14

Danielle Liu ’14

Jake Rauh ’14

Jack Wain ’14

Dan Wang ’14

Jen Kaplan ’15

Qiqi Ren ’15

Alice Ahn ’16

Payton Jancsy ’16

Vienna Kuhn ’16

Andy Manos ’16

Julianne Xenakis ’16

Janet Conklin ’17

Susan Yun ’17