Equality in sports isn’t always present, especially in women’s athletics. Being offered less opportunities and facing disrespect are just two of the inequalities women face
In the first installment of the Women’s Sports Into the Spotlight series, The Journal interviewed Queen’s Field Hockey Goalie Jennie Izatt, ConEd ’24.
As a varsity club, the Women’s field hockey team plays home games on Tindall Field.
Despite playing on a top-notch facility, the Field Hockey team faces barriers to accessing the space other teams don’t.
“We’re really not taken seriously by our peers,” Izatt said. “When it comes to field time, we have to pay to be on the field.
“We think it would be good for visibility and stuff, but it actually just ends up with people not getting off the field when we’re practicing,” she said. “It’s really difficult because in the most extreme cases, it’s before a game when we’re having a game warm up and people are trying to use our field.”
Though the effect of this on the team can be major, that same desperation isn’t always met with sympathy.
“We speak out about it,” Izatt said. “It’s never met with ‘Oh, I understand and I respect your space, and I respect your time, and I respect your sport.’”
Izatt made it clear woman athletes aren’t fighting for better facilities to play in, but instead are advocating for the same opportunities often offered to their male counterparts.
“If we can still accomplish the same things [now], what could we do if we got the same opportunity?” Izatt said.
Izatt said Queen’s Athletics & Recreation (A&R) has recently done a better job at promoting the field hockey team through their social media pages. By this time last year, there were no individual posts highlighting the team on Instagram, and only a few photo albums that mentioned the team in their “Upcoming Games” posts.
This year, early on in the season, the team was included in a “Varsity Club Weekend” post. This has been increasing with time.
“The Gaels Instagram page does a much better job than they have,” Izatt said. “It looks good. It looks like they’re trying, and I really appreciate that.”
According to the Queen’s 2020 Student Applicant Census, 61.9 per cent of Queen’s undergraduate students are women. Izatt hopes the number of women increases in university athletics.
“There’s the space for women to take up their proportional positions in sports and in entertainment,” she said. “Like Intramurals, it’s just not seen.”
Izatt wants to emphasize the importance of showing up for your friends. Showing up to games to support varsity clubs, even if you aren’t an athlete yourself.
“You appreciate your friend’s contribution to sport and athletics and building community,” she said.
Field hockey is the only varsity club that’s only offered to women at Queen’s. For Izatt, exemplifying the power of womanhood helps create competitive and secure spaces for women in sport.
“My field hockey club accomplishes the same big values when it comes to creating a safe space for people, creating a place where we can accomplish the same goals that the football team does,” she said.
Without a fancy stadium and a large fanbase attending their games, Izatt emphasized the field hockey team still shows up to games and practices. Though some people don’t know the sport exists at Queen’s or have never seen a professional athlete like them, Izatt and her teammates continue to go out and play.
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