Do women who are head of athletics get the same respect as that of a man? Mrs. Nastasha Johnson

Are women capable of holding their own in the athletic realm just as men?

For many years athletics has been looked at as being designed for man, but women quickly began to break the barriers although still under rated and overlooked so to speak. There are no women in the NFL. MLB is very popular, but after college what do women have to look forward to in terms of playing softball? You have the NBA which is very popular, but is it just me who never has heard people running to the bar to watch a WNBA game or heard any of these teams all over ESPN getting the hype that Lebron or the Warriors team gets? I speak on this to magnify the lack of attention women get when it comes to certain roles in the athletic realm and opportunities. Outside of physically being involved in athletics, secondary and post-secondary schools begin to implement positions for athletic directors. These positions were built for coaches who would head departments of athletics when it comes to making sure each team was properly equipped, academically up to par, even as far as making sure everyone is physically capable of participating. Over the years, I have only known these positions to be filled by men. Since being at my current school there have been two women to take the seat with one of those being me. Imagine walking into the county athletic directors’ meeting and being the only woman representing the surrounding schools.

For some women, this could be intimidating, but for a woman who knows her sports and can talk the lingo with the best of them, I sat confidently in my seat ready to collaborate. So, I say that to say that I see the barrier being broken in the middle school, but each high school in our county the athletic director is a male. College athletic directors are mostly men. Why is this? Do women not have the same abilities to lead various programs? Can a woman’s resume not exude that of a male? Are we even being looked at?

Do women who are head of athletics get the same respect as that of a man? As a coach who has worked under an athletic director and as a current athletic director over mostly men, I have to say this can be very difficult. In some ways, you must prove, and for some it may even seem as if you must throw your weight around and demand respect. Sitting in a room of football coaches all of the male species (Don’t be offended) and only being the height of 4’4 is some what intimidating. They began to talk about the previous nights game and you indulge in the conversation which in turn loosens everyone up, but will this be the way it works when it comes to protocol? Not so much. Somewhere in my mind, I believe that they question my authority without really speaking it. What do I do to show them that yes, I am a woman, but I have earned my right to be in this position? Nothing short of coming to the table and letting them know that I am me and who I am experience and personality is enough. Like any man in this position, I will talk to you about the previous game and still hand out expectations. I will critique you as a coach during my evaluations and compliment your success, so what is that man can do in the position of athletic director that woman can’t do?

Nastasha Johnson

Memorial Middle School

Athletic Director

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