Rosemary Chesney, Campus Carrier asst. sports editor

While the sports community tends to be stereotypically male dominated, many women are heavily involved in ways that are less acknowledged. Women involved in the sports community at Berry shared their perspectives and opinions about the stigmas that center around women in the sports community. 

Head Volleyball Coach Caitlyn Moriarty manages 19 female student athletes for Berry’s volleyball program while working alongside student workers in both sports medicine and media. Moriarty said that one of the biggest stereotypes regarding females in sports is that women don’t care about or watch sports. 

“I like to think [society] has come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go as far as having some equity and access to opportunity,” Moriarty said. 

Moriarty said that another stigma surrounding women in sports is the assumption that women cannot coach men. She said that there are a few women coaching and refereeing in the NFL specifically, but not many. On the volleyball team, JT Oates works as an assistant coach for the female athletes.

“We have a male volleyball coach on staff, and he’s great,” Moriarty said. “Obviously, [JT Oates] didn’t play women’s volleyball, so why couldn’t a female coach men’s basketball, for example. I think there’s this misconception out there that women shouldn’t or can’t [coach men] for various reasons.” 

Moriarty said that she has never personally experienced sexism at Berry, and the Berry staff and community has treated her and the whole volleyball program very well. 

“I feel very lucky, at Berry, to have what we have,” Moriarty said. “We have really established ourselves as a premier program, and are seen as such.” 

Senior Denae Rivera is a former Berry track and field athlete who works as a sports information assistant. Her job includes many behind the scene activities for Berry sports including camera work and personal graphics for various teams. In her sports communication class, Rivera did a podcast about the treatment of women in sports 

“Outside our little ‘Berry Bubble’, women are severely underestimated,” Rivera said. “There are plenty of women out there who have done amazing things in sports, and they just don’t get the recognition.” 

Sophomore Adele Gammill also works in the sports information office writing press releases, managing social media platforms and conducting interviews. Similar to Moriarty, Gammill said that she has not experienced any sexism at Berry, but that her colleagues are primarily males. She said she gets excited whenever a female joins sports information. 

“Women in sports need to lift other women up because no woman is going to get anywhere without other women,” Gammill said. “I love connecting with other women who love sports.” 

Gammill plans to enter the sports community after college. She said that while she is open to working in sports broadcast or graphic design, her specialty is writing. 

“The thought of experiencing [sexism] in my future career is really scary,” Gammill said. “I think that I’ve gotten a head start into what I want to do in life and don’t want that diminished by my gender.” 

Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Ginger Swann works with sports medicine. She said that regarding changing the stigmas against women in sports, she mainly hopes people can see the value and commonalities in one another. 

“I hope that we can create a culture within this community that allows us to support one another and have real and hard conversations,” Swann said. “But we need to begin doing it with a true desire to seek to hear and see the other person, being driven by empathy, so we can have a true understanding of another person’s heart.”

Swann said that overcoming stigmas against women in sports begins with having a healthy self-awareness about one’s own strengths and weaknesses. She said that the goal for her is to see other people as people.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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