In the current mediascape, sport is covered in all aspects of the media- television, radio, internet, newspapers, blogs and advertising. Sport is considered a fairly important aspect of our society, particularly in Australia where it is often considered front page news. Despite sports popularity, media coverage of men and women is not equal. I was looking at todays newspaper and it is very apparent that the gender inequality is overall divergent.
The media shapes the public’s perceptions of the accomplishments of women playing sports, nobody thinks it’s unusual to see a basically woman free zone with the occasional trophy female thrown in. NSW Sport and Recreation have written a fantastic article on women’s achievements as a whole receive limited coverage by the mass media. There has been much research and study undertaken in relation to this issue which has shown that women get significantly less media coverage then men.
NSW Sport and Recreations article emphasises that Australian statistics conducted by Australian Sports Commissions done in 1996 show that Men received “95.1% of Radio coverage, 56.2% of Television coverage with Women receiving only 2% and 10.7% of Newspaper coverage”. The survey found that majority of women’s sport coverage appeared on days when there is little male sport, In the newspapers examined in the ASC survey, articles on women’s sport were often at the bottom of the page or buried on the inside pages of the sports section.
These statistics have not significantly changed over time. Currently, television coverage of women’s sports is inconsistent at best and non-existent most of the time.
In NSW Sport and Recreations article it highlights the importance of media coverage and “how the low media profile of women’s sports, affects women and sport in several ways”;
- There are few widely known role models for aspiring young girls, boys grow up watching television, bombarded by heroic and confident images of themselves playing sports. They know they are expected to play sports and are encouraged to do so by everyone around them. Girls do not receive these messages, they have to actively go out and find role models.
- The public is unaware of ‘women’s sporting events and women’s achievements in sports’. While the exposure of female athletes improves during the Olympic Games, it is only short occurrences.
- Media coverage is a critical movement for sponsorship, If women’s pro sports cannot tap into big advertising dollars, athlete salaries will continue to be low and the financial success of women’s pro leagues and tours will be more difficult to achieve.
Change is essential! I’ll be cheering when Australia’s most powerful sports bosses are referring to women’s sport when they say ‘we will not tolerate discrimination’.
- Lopiano, Donna. ‘Media Coverage Of Women’s Sports Is Important | Sports Management Resources’. Sportsmanagementresources.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
- NSW Sport and Recreation. http://www.dsr.nsw.gov.au/assets/pubs/industry/info_mediawomen.pdf. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.