I am the youngest of six children and grew up with four brothers, so sports are most definitely my love language. It doesn’t matter what the conversation topic is, I’ll more than likely make a sports comparison. Unfortunately, being a woman, I have always been acutely aware of the lack of female representation in the athletic world. That fact, coupled with my competitive childhood, continually drives my passion for women in sports. Womens’ influence in the world of sports tends to be a frequent conversation I have.
In the past decade, women have shattered ceilings and defied stereotypes that have for years defined professional athletics. We have seen the first female to officiate an FBS NCAA game, the NFL playoffs and the NFL Super Bowl. There have been many female coaches hired in the NBA and NFL, and those numbers continue to grow each season. A pair of female head coaches even made history this past basketball season as the first African-American coaches to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament. During the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, U.S. women athletes would have placed fourth in medal count if they were a country.
Even though I’m amazed by all that has been accomplished in the world of women in sports, I still shake my head in disappointment, because this has all happened in just the last decade. As we celebrate, we remain aware that there are plenty of fights left for the decades to come. Pay gap disparities and differences in treatment for female athletes in comparison to male athletes are still major issues.
I believe Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Katie Ledecky said it best when it comes to how we can continue to grow women’s influence and impact in sports:
“For progress to continue, we’re going to have to continue to advocate for equality for female sports, not be afraid to speak out, to pursue legal and political remedies and have a seat in corporate boardrooms, and not be timid about participating in those processes that will continue to bring change.”
So ladies, no more sitting on the sidelines! Let’s not only have a seat at the table, but also a voice at the table. We should not only be spectators in the crowd, but players on the field. Most importantly, let’s always cheer each other on until the final buzzer.
Brigetta Uta’i is the northern office program coordinator for the Women’s Business Center of Utah. Brigetta is a proud Utahn and was raised in Sandy. She studied in both Colorado and Florida. During her time in Florida, she met her husband Devin and they were married in 2018. Brigetta returned to Utah in March of 2021 after a 2.5 year station in Germany for the U.S. Army. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her Instagram feed consisting of watching or participating in sporting events, traveling to a bucket list location or trying out a new food place.