How A 16-Year-Old Shortstop Is Paving The Way For Women Everywhere
Meet Melissa Mayeux, the 16-year-old French baseball sensation making global headlines.
Mayeux was added to the MLB's international registration list earlier this week, making her eligible to be signed to a Major League Baseball team. So, there's that.
Although the chance of Mayeux actually being signed to a team is unlikely, what this talented shortstop is doing for women in sports is more important.
As a female who grew up a sports fanatic, to work in the industry, career prospects were minimal, and to this day, the overall job outlook can sometimes seem bleak.
In 2015, women are still criticized harder for their athletic talents and not taken seriously in the sports world.
For any woman who's ever struck up a sports conversation with a man and seen the look of absolute shock on his face that a female could actually know what she's talking about, you know the struggle.
We can work admin positions and report from the sidelines in our heels, but play on a major league professional team that isn't B-listed to be broadcast on ESPN2? Not much of a chance.
Is there any plausible reason why gender segregation in sports is still happening? Well, many will argue that women simply don't measure up: We aren't fast enough, strong enough or tough enough to cut in a man's world.
The Internet is ripe with jokes, judgments and criticisms of Mayeux's abilities. A lot of people see it as nothing more than a PR stunt from the MLB.
Mayeux may not make it to the pros, but I say it takes only one woman to prove her physical talents measure up to give girls everywhere hope as serious professional athletes.
Maybe the reason gender segregation in sports still exists not for lack of physical talent, but rather lack of opportunity.
If young girls see playing professional sports (I'm talking outside of women's leagues) as an impossible reality, then it's likely most will never even make an attempt.
Just 50 years ago, a good portion of the general population probably argued women were better off staying out of the workplace all together, but progress is progress. I don't deem it completely unreasonable to suspect we will see more and more females crossing over into the men's game.
Remember Sarah Thomas? Just a few months ago, Thomas was named the NFL's first full-time female official in the league's history, and will be working as a “floater” during the 2015 season.
Although Thomas hadn't intended to break the gender barrier, she did exactly that.
For any woman who has had to deal with the extensive scrutiny that comes with being a sports fan, especially in a male-dominated sport like football, we couldn't help but celebrate.
Before being named the NFL's first female official, in 2007 and 2008, Thomas became the first woman to officiate a men's NCAA game.
Thomas also spent time as a line judge for the New Orleans Saints during last year's spring training, so her résumé is quite impressive.
Thanks to women like Mayeux and Thomas, it is not impossible to think we may one day be writing about women in professional leagues that were once designated for men, or — dare I say it -- commissioning major league sports.
Young girls can look at these two remarkable women and see a world of new and exciting opportunity.