Equality in the World of Sport

Sarah Thomas became the first woman to referee the Super Bowl on February 7th, 2021. The fact that 2021 was the first time for a woman to referee in a Super Bowl shows how equality is a long-lasting issue that is still going today. Thomas made history by being the first female to referee college football. Now being the first female referee a Super Bowl leaves a powerful message to young female referees, the message being that anyone can ref professionally, no matter their gender. Thomas was a very sport-oriented person growing up. She faced her fair share inequality in her journey in the sports world.   

Sarah Thomas discussing with Bill Belechick, New England Patriots’ General Manager  
(Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images) 

Professional sports have been considered male dominated through the many years, especially football. Football is widely known as a contact sport that involves a lot of aggressive behavior. Due to the nature of football, it is considered to be a sport that “men” play. League for female football players is very rare and women are easily pushed away from the sport.

Referees commonly stem from people who have grown up playing football or just study the rules. Since women aren’t associated with football as much as men, it is uncommon to see many female refs. The NFL was very supportive of the decision for Thomas to referee the game. Now that Thomas has made a name for herself, she wants to keep building on the fact that gender does not determine what someone can do. Many former female officials talk about their experiences with professional sport raise awareness on equality.  


Featured image: Sarah Thomas lined up with fellow referees (Source: John Froschauer, File)

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