Using math to investigate equality in sports

Since the  FIFA Women’s World Cup concluded in my hometown last week, I’ve had women’s sports on my mind. As much as I wanted Team Canada to win, I do think the Team USA win is brining much-needed attention to women’s sports.

Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go. As The Independent reported last week, the American women, the tournament champions, only earned one quarter of what the American men earned, even though the men’s team was eliminated before the quarter final.

A related pet-peeve of mine is the frequency with which women’s leagues and tournaments get the qualifier “women’s” when the equivalent men’s events enjoy an unqualified definitive article. The FIFA World Cup is only for men.

This strikes me as an interesting line of inquiry into the IB MYP Global Context, Fairness and Development. Specifically, it’s a great starting point for an inquiry into access to equal opportunities in sports. I would love to engage students in a discussion (supported with research, estimation and calculations, of course) about the extent to which “world champions” really represent the world.

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