Caitlin Clark: The Woman of the Generation

Caitlin Clark: The Woman of the Generation

Breaking records and changing the way people view women’s sports, Caitlin Clark has become a household name in both the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). 

At the end of her 2024 season playing for the Iowa Hawks, she broke the NCAA women’s record for most points scored in a single season. With 1,113 points, her name made headlines in magazines that typically showed male basketball players (Merrell 2024). Clark did not stop at a record specified for women’s athletics, and her game against The University of South Carolina became the most watched basketball game of any kind. Breaking both women’s and men’s college and professional basketball records, this game had 24 million viewers (Bohannon 2024). Shortly after graduating from The University of Iowa, Clark became the first overall draft pick, and she now plays for the WNBA for the Indiana Fever. Iowa retired her jersey shortly after her parting, which again hit headlines across the world.

With the news that her total four-year-salary was less than half a million dollars, women have begun to wonder how large of a role her gender had in determining her earnings. Her laughable salary is less than 0.06% of the number one men’s draft pick, Victor Wenbanyama. However, bringing in a record-breaking amount of money from her jerseys and basketball games, Caitlin Clark’s salary should reflect her abilities. Traditionally  there has been a large gap in viewership between the NBA and WNBA, and this gap is given as the reason for women players’ much smaller salaries. However, given Clark’s central role in creating the most watched basketball game in history,  this reason is no longer relevant, and therefore should not be a viable factor in deciding her salary.

Caitlin Clark’s impact in women’s athletics influenced every woman across the globe. Women who have not followed basketball, let alone women’s basketball, now know the name “Caitlin Clark.” After surveying 20 women, a vast majority could only name Caitlin Clark as a female basketball player, but of those 20 women, fifteen of them could name well over 20 male basketball players. The NBA is more widely known, but Clark is here to change that, making Clark the most influential women’s basketball player of this generation. 

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