It’s the only remaining gap. Half the population plays on one side; half on the other (if at all).
We’ve tiptoed around this idea for a while: Billie Jean King, Hayley Wickenheiser, Shannon Szabados.
A French second-league soccer team just hired a female manager. This year’s U.S. Open golf championship will be run back-to-back on the same course, women following the men. Formula 1 will probably get its first regular female driver by next season.
Those efforts feel less and less like stunts as time goes by. We’ve stopped arguing about whether women can play against men, and started arguing about whether they should.
Those examples also avoid the differences of size and strength that make it difficult for most women to compete physically with most men. That’s the next step.
We’ll know this has gotten serious when people begin suggesting women deserve to play alongside men in major team sports. If the issues of race and sexual orientation are our guide, that’s the finish line.