Far fewer articles are written about women's sport, with editors saying they get less interest. But there is something we can doby Scheenagh Harrington / July 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
When was the last time you read a report about a women’s football game, or saw an in-depth profile of a female rugby star in the paper? Could you name the captain of the women’s national cricket team? I know couldn’t—and the UK’s mainstream media aren’t helping.
Women’s Sport Week ran from 19th-25th June, but if you looked at the sport sections of many UK national newspapers that week, you would barely have known it.
In one day, I looked at the online sport sections of broadsheets the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the Telegraph, and tabloids the Mirror, the Sun, the Daily Express and Daily Mail, and counted a total of 13 articles about women’s sport.
Thirteen stories, compared to dozens and dozens of articles devoted to men’s football and rugby, cricket, Formula 1, golf, athletics, tennis, and a smattering of others. Only in those last two, athletics and tennis, did women merit coverage—and the tennis coverage focused solely on actual sporting action.
Where are our sportswomen, and why is it so normal for them not to be seen on the back pages?
Women’s sport, especially football and rugby, is being put in the spotlight like never before. Women’s football has finally found a home on TV, after 12 million people watched the 2015 Women’s World Cup on BBC Two—only the second time the competition was shown on the channel. Channel 4 will cover this month’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 for the first time, outbidding the BBC for the rights—though Aunty Beeb has hung onto the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
In rugby, the Women’s Six Nations finally made it to the small screen this year, while the forthcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup will be broadcast on ITV.
That’s not to mention this year’s IAAF World Championships in athletics, taking place in London, and of course the Wimbledon tennis tournament, both of which feature top-class female sports stars.
Growing audiences and increased appetite in many areas of women’s sport make for an intoxicating combination for television audiences—but that increased appetite hasn’t necessarily translated into column inches.
Jennifer O’Neill has been the editor of football magazine SheKicks for almost 20 years and has watched women’s football change radically in that time, with sponsors…