Feminism takes the field


Malina Wong

Women represent the feminist movement on the court and field.

Over the years, women have struggled to find a voice, especially in the world of sports. However, recently many women are being recognized for their professional sports-related achievements and are inspiring countless young women.

“The first female [to score] in college football is Sarah Fuller [and she] sticks out to me because she started off as a soccer player, and I’ve been playing [soccer] for 11 years,” said Mia Khouri, a sophomore who plays soccer for Carlmont and Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club. 

Bias towards men has caused setbacks for women to reach their full potential. Female athletes, specifically, have had difficulty proving their physical abilities to their male counterparts. The feminism movement attempts to bring down that barrier. Feminism is a mindset that entails how someone believes in equality among genders. Alex Morgan is a prime example of breaking gender stereotypes, showing girls that being female does not stop them from being recognized as incredible athletes. 

Whether people are interested in sports or not, I think it creates a great representation of women in different areas that people probably thought was impossible.”

— Torika Baleilekutu, a Carlmont alumna and club volleyball director

“Someone who has inspired me is definitely Alex Morgan. She played in the SheBelieves Cup, which has brought a lot of awareness to feminism, and I also enjoyed reading her book,” Khouri said. 

Serena Williams is also one of many women who has taken her athleticism to new heights. She is a professional tennis player who has empowered numerous women to go after their dreams despite obstacles. 

“For [Williams] to accomplish what she has accomplished and [return] to the sport after having a child and continuing the journey of being a wife and mother all while trying to get back to the level she was [competing at] before is incredible,” said Torika Baleilekutu, a coach and assistant director at Encore Volleyball Club.

These accomplishments for women in sports have provided more than just inspiration. An increased amount of coaching opportunities for men’s teams are being offered to women, and specialized facilities for women’s sports have also been created. 

On Jan. 16, 2020, Alyssa Nakken shattered glass ceilings by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history (hired by the San Francisco Giants). She earned four All-Pacific Coast Softball Conference selections while playing at Sacramento State and has been working for the Giants since 2014. 

“I was always preparing and staying ready for whatever position I’d be put in,” Nakken said in a postgame interview on CBS San Francisco Bay Area. “[As a female], I have a sense of pride to be out there.” 

In 2015, Up the Middle (UTM) was established in Belmont. UTM is a training facility that provides equipment specifically designed for hitting softballs, allowing more female athletes to hit in batting cages.

“Advancements for women in pro sports have benefited me because now you can find batting cages with the sole purpose of softball; you wouldn’t have seen that 20 years ago,” said Lindsay Roth, a sophomore who plays softball for NorCal Blast and Carlmont.

Hopefully, the future holds more progress and equality for women in sports. As for now, these record-breaking female athletes (and many more like them) will continue to motivate others and show people that anything is possible. 

“I feel like these are just stints in history that helped open up a pathway and opportunity for more girls to think about being a referee or a coach in a male-dominated sport, [if that’s] what they wanted to do,” Baleilekutu said. 


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