10/06/2034 8:36 PM ET

SPORTS

Integrate The Pro Leagues. Now.

Claire Masiakova
American Union of Women Athletes (AUWA)
Chicago Red Stars Defender

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license Julie Johnston playing for the US Women's National Team in San Jose, California on 10 May 2015 by Noah Salzman | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 _DSC0110 by Felicia Day | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
At least give women the chance to prove they can compete.
Sports is the great equalizer. Nothing even comes close, because all that matters is what you can do. It doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, what your skin color is...none of that compares to whether you can play.

Except in one last area, that is. Your gender.

Currently, if you identify as a female, you can be barred from participating at the highest levels of your chosen competition.

You might be able to knock it out of the park, hit 40% of your threes or shoot five-under, but as a woman you cannot play at the highest level. Sorry. This means that you will during your career, earn 25% - 80% less than men do, and your lack of exposure (men's competitions always receive better coverage) will cost you endorsements and recognition.

When your earning capacity is affected by your gender, that's called something: discrimination.

Did you know that the consensus best WNBA player, Sal Crossley, makes $900,000 a year (excluding endorsements)? Did you know the consensus best NBA player, West Carrford, makes $49,000,000 a year? Or that Striker Libby Scheneski of the Washington Spirit makes $420,000 while Dustin McDonald of the LA Galaxy makes $4,250,000?

This is a system which is simply built on inequality. It is unacceptable.

The solution is simple - we need to integrate men's and women's competitions. Think about it: wouldn't you rather see the best players play? Wouldn't you rather see the person with the most skill on your team? Wouldn't you want Sheila Ably and her .315 batting average on your team?

This is win-win. This makes sense. We at the AUWA intend to lobby Congress to consider an amendment to the Equal Pay Act, which provides for similar wages to be applied for the same work regardless of gender.

We have tried to engage various leagues on the issue of integration, but we have been rebuffed each time. It seems they are either too fearful or they simply do not want to share the financial benefits they enjoy with talented women.

Segregation along racial lines was ended in this country seventy years ago. Continuing to support segregation along gender lines should be as outrageous to a progressive people.

And this should apply not only to professionals. Amateur athletics should also be stripped of participation discrimination. Women don't want to be patronized any longer, and we don't want to be 'allowed' to play. We want sincere, authentic rights (which by the way, are guaranteed by the constitution).

It's time for segregation to end. It's time for full integration. As women, we intend to fight for our sisters.
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