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Coverage of women's sport in the media

(23 Posts)
cheminotte Wed 04-Oct-17 21:13:57

So I've been reading the Guardian online recently and as I scrolled down I noticed that all the Sport articles on their front page had pictures of men. Clicking on 'more sport' - a few more articles about men's football, cricket, whatever. I look most days, and a woman or women might feature once a week. 'Inside' the Sport section it's no better.
Why is this? I admit I prefer doing sport to watching it so I don't actively follow any particular sport, but why is there not more coverage?

Flyingflipflop Wed 04-Oct-17 21:20:07

Sky cover the women's cricket well as do Test Match Special.

However, you've said you're not bothered about following sport. If that's common, then why would the press cover it?

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 04-Oct-17 21:23:22

It has been ever thus. Women tend to get coverage when the sport is also played by men at the same event e.g. tennis, athletics.

No doubt the Guardian (and other people) would say it's because those sports get the most clicks/views and they're just going with what's most popular. Men's sports are more popular than women's, but there are clearly reasons for that eg women's football was actively banned/discouraged by the FA for decades and decades. It's a self fulfilling circle as well, as women don't get the coverage, so it's not as popular because people don't read/see it, so it gets less coverage, and so on. It needs a fair minded editor to insist on representing women's sport and actively seeking out the stories.

A close family member of mine is a (women's) netball coach and would send in match reports and photos to the local newspaper regularly, but they would never get printed, no matter how well they were doing. The same paper would print match reports from the lowest levels of boys/mens football, devoting pages to it.

MikeUniformMike Wed 04-Oct-17 21:31:12

A few women do sports. probably fewer than 50 in the whole world. This is why newspapers, tv and radio don't seem to mention it.

QuentinSummers Wed 04-Oct-17 21:45:23

A few women do sports. probably fewer than 50 in the whole world
grin

Jasminedes Wed 04-Oct-17 21:48:43

I think it would be a good start if our school starting headlining their sports reports 'boys football/cricket/rugby' rather than 'Year 7 football etc' and then only titling the girls sports as 'Girls Football/Cricket etc'.

There has been better tv coverage of womens football and cricket, but I noticed the times have a whole football pullout supplement and when I looked through it there was no coverage of the women's game.

cheminotte Wed 04-Oct-17 21:50:38

I'm not interested but my partner isn't interested in football either. So I don't know if I'm typical as I know he's not. Ithink I would be more interested if I saw any women like me. I don't expect 50/50 coverage but was shocked when I realized there wasn't even one article about women's football / cycling / athletes. Ironically the Observer had an article about women's football but it was in the lifestyle section not the Sport section!

NoLoveofMine Wed 04-Oct-17 21:51:16

It's very dispiriting for girls who play sport. To think, for example, the Cricket World Cup was held in England this year and won by the host nation, yet England becoming World Champions received barely any coverage - if that had been the men's World Cup I'm sure there'd have been a significant amount of coverage. Likewise, the England team were the Rugby World Cup holders and this year reached the final, losing in what was, rugby fans tell me, an excellent game, yet the England men's team were abysmal in the last men's Rugby World Cup but received a huge amount of coverage (one of my brothers plays rugby for a team and follows it avidly, I confess I'm not much of a fan but will follow the women's tournaments). In these instances the women's teams often outperform the men's in comparable tournaments, yet receive nothing like the amount of coverage, which is disheartening for girls who play sport and perpetuates this state of affairs. It also leads to far fewer girls believing careers in sport are for them compared to boys and the belief sport is the preserve of boys/men.

As with much of society, I think it shows women and girls are often regarded as lesser.

cheminotte Wed 04-Oct-17 21:52:31

Indeed Jas - if we have 'women's football' , why don't we have men's football. I will now deliberately say - oh I see the men's football season has started.

NoLoveofMine Wed 04-Oct-17 21:54:36

I think it would be a good start if our school starting headlining their sports reports 'boys football/cricket/rugby' rather than 'Year 7 football etc' and then only titling the girls sports as 'Girls Football/Cricket etc'.

Definitely. This sends out the message to children from a young age that sport is as default for boys and girls are an additional thought, a tag on to the main events which are the boys' fixtures.

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 04-Oct-17 21:55:12

I've found the opposite recently in TV footage. There are lots more women's sports televised now. Recently we have watched women's rugby, football and cricket and we don't have any specialised sports channels. I think it is moving in the right direction and as more people start to watch and enjoy women's sports the more it will be covered.

NoLoveofMine Wed 04-Oct-17 21:58:08

To be fair the tournaments have all been aired and I think the BBC do a weekly programme featuring women's football matches, and screen some games. The shift is certainly towards more coverage, albeit too slowly.

cheminotte Wed 04-Oct-17 22:01:25

That's interesting Ineed and Nolove . Maybe print media or just the Guardian hasn't caught up.

NoLoveofMine Wed 04-Oct-17 22:04:35

It could be the case cheminotte. I think the Rugby World Cup was aired on ITV this year, football European Championships were on Channel 4 and the Cricket World Cup was also covered, plus the final was definitely sold out at Lord's which is also good.

I think the idea boys' sport is more important becomes ingrained quite young. I know when my brother plays rugby matches, quite often his girlfriend, and other girls who are friends of hers, his or others on his team, will go to watch if they can. I asked and barely any of his friends ever go and watch any girls they know playing sport and it doesn't seem like this is questioned by any of them (though hopefully will be since I've been raising it).

MikeUniformMike Wed 04-Oct-17 22:06:56

And these 50 or so women are photogenic and wear skimpy outfits.

MikeUniformMike Wed 04-Oct-17 22:09:26

You needn't bother with all that training, you don't need to break into a sweat, just pair off with a sport star (male obviously) and you'll get much more media coverage.

PricklyBall Wed 04-Oct-17 22:26:55

I totally understand the cynicism Mike (after all, look at Anna Kournikova, for a while the highest earning female tennis player in the world despite never having reached the number one spot). But one of the things I do find refreshing about women's sport coverage is that TV has to cover the women who actually win. Because just about everywhere else on TV if the TV bosses have a choice between a plain woman who can present, say, a history documentary or a science documentary, or a conventionally beautiful woman, they will pick the beautiful woman every time. Sport is one of the few places you see ordinary looking women doing extraordinary things. (I may be biased as a big fan of women's football - used to play at a very low level when I was younger).

busyboysmum Wed 04-Oct-17 23:23:33

Are well when these new self identifying transwomen take over women's sport perhaps it will get much more coverage. However of course by that point all the titles etc will be actually won by men who dress up as women and so will defeat the entire object in any event.

deydododatdodontdeydo Thu 05-Oct-17 09:16:55

I agree with AssassinatedBeauty, it's a bit self fulfilling. I'd certainly some women's sports if they were available, I'm sure other would too.
Most people watch what they're fed.
Interestingly, for olympic type sports, or running, women's sports seem to get almost equal coverage.
Also, I've notice the BBC website and TV news will report how "England" have done in the football or , but when the story continues, it's the women's sport they are covering and they don't even mention it.

cheminotte Thu 05-Oct-17 10:59:22

Are you objecting or applauding that dodo ? I think some people might switch off if they know it's about women's sport so not mentioning it may be a good thing.
Just looked at bbc's homepage though - all men in the sports section.

deydododatdodontdeydo Thu 05-Oct-17 11:29:53

You mean the last bit? I'm pleasantly surprised so applauding it, although I do find it a bit confusing, so I'd rather they refer to "men's sport" and "women's sport".
In fact, it confuses me when they report "England did this" and don't even mention the sport they are talking about confused.

whoputthecatout Thu 05-Oct-17 11:45:58

Cheminotte If you are looking for coverage of women's sport in the print media the Guardian is the wrong paper to read. The Daily Telegraph covers much more and is a big supporter of women's sport.

cheminotte Fri 06-Oct-17 08:04:02

Thanks cat - that's really interesting and surprising.

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