Sac+State+track+and+field+assistant+coach+Kimberly+Graham-Miller+poses+at+the+Hornet+Stadium+Monday%2C+Oct.+26.+Graham-Miller+discussed+the+importance+of+female+empowerment+and+support+in+athletics.

Patrick Posuniak

Sac State track and field assistant coach Kimberly Graham-Miller poses at the Hornet Stadium Monday, Oct. 26. Graham-Miller discussed the importance of female empowerment and support in athletics.

Women at Sac State speak out on gender inequalities within athletics

Athletes discuss the need for women to get more coaching opportunities

November 16, 2020

Out of the 17 athletic teams at Sacramento State, there are two female head coaches, women’s tennis coach Cami Hubbs and softball coach Lori Perez, according to the Hornet Sports Staff Directory.

With little representation of female coaches in lead roles at Sac State, athletes are speaking out on the importance of female empowerment in the male dominated world of college sports.
RELATED: Meet the only two female head coaches at Sac State
“It just goes to show our own subtle sexism that we still have and are trying to break through,” said Sac State senior infielder Mo Spieth.

With all three of her softball coaches being women, Spieth said there is a special connection female athletes can have with female coaches.

“I think the most important thing for young women and especially young female athletes is having someone there along your journey who understands what you’re going through,” Spieth said. “Someone who is there to give advice because they’ve been there before, they’ve been a fellow woman in athletics.”

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“I think the most important thing for young women and especially young female athletes is having someone there along your journey who understands what you’re going through. Someone who is there to give advice because they’ve been there before, they’ve been a fellow woman in athletics.”

Mo Spieth

Sac State senior infielder Mo Spieth poses for a photo Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Spieth details the importance of female representation in athletic coaching roles.

Spieth said empowering female student athletes starts with female representation in the administration.

“When you have these examples of female coaches, that just empowers girls to see themselves in that coaching hat,” Spieth said.

Sac State senior gymnast Jordyn Brent said the lack of women coaching at Sac State does not have anything to do with women’s capability to coach.

“I just feel like it just has to do with that perspective of males being dominant,” Brent said.

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"I just feel like it just has to do with that perspective of males being dominant."

Jordyn Brent

Sac State senior gymnast Jordyn Brent poses for a photo in front of Hornets Nest on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Brent says the lack of female coaches at Sac State has nothing to do with the capability of female coaches.

Along with the head coaching numbers, the athletics department has four male associate head coaches and two female associate head coaches. There are 29 assistant coaches, eight of whom are female, according to the Hornet Sports Staff Directory.

While Sac State Athletics is predominantly coached by men, there are a few female coaches paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps.

One of which is Olympic gold medalist in the 4x400 relay and Sac State track and field assistant coach Kimberly Graham-Miller.

Graham-Miller said the difference in the way women and men are treated in athletics was not evident to her until she became a professional athlete and noticed men made more money than women.

“I think your salary should be based on your experience and your knowledge of the sport and how long you have been coaching and that type of deal,” Graham-Miller said. “It shouldn’t be based on gender at all.”

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“People fall in love with people they get to know and the only way we can support them is by getting to know the athletes. How are you putting these female athletes in the forefront so other little girls can be inspired by watching them?”

Kimberly Graham-Miller

Kimberly Graham-Miller poses for a photo at the Hornet Stadium on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.

According to the Equity in Athletics Data Analysis, head coaches for men’s teams at Sac State earn an average annual institutional salary of $168,653, while head coaches for women’s teams at Sac State earn an average annual institutional salary of $77,643.

The salaries of the head coaches for the top three men’s teams (football, basketball and baseball) account for nearly 36% of the total salary paid out to the 17 head coaches at Sac State. However, there are two women’s teams head coaches who are paid more than their men's team head coach counterparts.

Sac State junior tennis player Megan Tagaloa said the wage gap between women and men in professional tennis specifically does not make sense.

“We all play the same sport, we play by the same rules,” Tagaloa said. “In men's tennis you do play a little bit longer like there’s different rules, perspectives, but there’s no difference in what you have to take out of yourself to play the game.”

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Women's teams at Sac State earn an overall revenue of $6,854,698 while men’s teams at Sac State earn an overall revenue of $10,209,376, according to Equity in Athletics Data Analysis.

“I know a lot of funding depends on how much money your sport is bringing in, so clearly football brings in the most money on campus so they have a lot of things that goes towards them and how much they get,” Brent said.

Brent said women are getting paid less than men not only in athletics, but in general.

According to PayScale, the uncontrolled median salary for women in California is 80 cents for every $1 earned by men. The controlled median salary for women in California is 99 cents for every $1 earned by men. The controlled gender pay gap measures compensable factors such as education and experience while the uncontrolled gender pay gap does not measure these factors.

“Obviously we’re still dealing with women in general not being compensated properly for their work and I think especially in sports and athletics the mentality that people have is well, you’re just lucky to be here,” Spieth said.

With the inequity women face in athletics, these athletes described how Sac State can support and empower them.

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“We all play the same sport, we play by the same rules.”

Megan Tagaloa

Sac State junior tennis player Megan Tagaloa poses for a photo at Sac State on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Tagaloa discussed the wage difference between men and women in tennis.

Spieth said fan attendance is a topic that needs to be discussed.

“I always laugh when people come to games and tell me they had no idea it is such a fast game, and it is so much fun to watch because there is so much more that goes on than in a baseball game,” Spieth said. “I always say yes, it’s entertaining, women playing sports can be entertaining.”

Similar to Spieth, Tagaloa said she feels supported and empowered when people attend her games.

“Just going out to show that you care and that you’re doing the little things like going to games or telling them that they did great and they’re not alone, because mentality-wise it’s so draining to be a part of a team to play sports,” Tagaloa said.

Graham-Miller said dedicating more media coverage and getting to know the female student-athletes on campus is a way to empower them and show support.

“People fall in love with people they get to know and the only way we can support them is by getting to know the athletes,” Graham-Miller said. “How are you putting these female athletes in the forefront so other little girls can be inspired by watching them?”

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