Acalanes female athlete board has goal to bridge equity gap between male, female sports programs


Issues facing women’s sports programs across the country have sparked local, regional, and national movements towards equity for female athletes.

   A new addition to the Acalanes campus, the Female Athlete Board, has goals to bridge the equity gap between male and female sports programs. 

   Acalanes Athletic Director Randy Takahashi originally introduced the program to Acalanes.

   “Over the summer I was reading through two Blueprint editions, the sexual abuse edition and the other one was on gender equity. It made me wonder, ‘What are we doing to address this issue?’” Takahashi said. “We need a safe place for female athletes to be able to talk … So I talked to [Acalanes Varsity Volleyball coach] Haley Walsh and asked if [she’d] be willing to start and be the head of [a female athlete board].”

   At the moment, the board is made up of female student-athlete representatives from each women’s sports team. 

   “We have at least two different representatives from every team, [and] some teams have more so that we can incorporate all the different classes … There’s at least 30 athletes on the board currently,” Walsh said.

   The goal of the program is to provide female student-athletes with a forum to voice their thoughts about ways to bring change to the gender disparity in sports at school.

   “Maybe it’s to [talk about] things that are problematic, maybe it’s how to … publicize what we do,” Takahashi said. 

   The board attends various female sporting events as one way to boost support for women’s athletics.

   “During the girl’s soccer game against Clayton Valley, the girls took it upon themselves to show up to the game and [form] a bigger crowd,” Takahashi said.

   The female athletes on the board also work to increase awareness about upcoming women’s sporting events.

   “Basically, we want to spread awareness about girls’ sports at school, but we also want all the girls in the group to attend the games. We made posters for the soccer game and spread them around school. We want everyone in the school to hear about these games, because a bigger crowd helps boost morale,” Acalanes junior Tatum Zuber said.

   The board engages in frequent meetings and discussions, which began back in November.

   “We meet every month and we’ll have a topic that we’ll focus on,” Walsh said. “For example, in one of our first meetings we looked at equity in terms of budgets, so comparing male sports versus female sports to see how the budgets were the same, where the inequity was, and seeing if we could come up with solutions to solve that.”   

   One major focus of meetings thus far is looking at the distribution of money amongst sports programs at Acalanes.

   “Regarding budgets, we just make sure that everything is equal and that every girls’ sport is getting the same opportunity as the boys’ sports,” Acalanes senior Gianna Manzone said. 

   Another focal point is the lack of athletic gear some women’s programs face. 

   “Women’s soccer has less gear than the men’s team. We thought about making a webstore [where] every sport has gear to buy,” Zuber said.

   While the board only recently formed, it is already taking big strides to diminish the overall gap between men’s and women’s athletic programs, and it will continue pursuing the ultimate goal of completely leveling the playing field for male and female sports.

   “The biggest goal would be equity across all sports and also a little bit more unity,” Walsh said. “Also making sure that there’s more awareness of sports … people always go to football games or men’s basketball, so changing that so that attending female events [is] fun too.”