In a contemporary society that constantly yearns for further equality across all facets of life, here is a question for you:
Q: Which of the following received more media coverage between 2012-2015?
All Women’s Sport Combined?
Any ideas? Well the answer, ridiculously, is horse racing.
The truth is that coverage of women’s sport has actually gone backwards in the last four years, and a recent report by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) reported that in Australia, women’s sport accounted for only seven percent of total television coverage and six percent of written news coverage. It is expected that this figure will get lower with the ABC announcing earlier this year the axing of their W-League national football and WNBL basketball coverage due to funding cuts.
The sheer fact that horse racing received more television air time than women’s sport between 2012 and 2015 is a fact that Australia, as a proud sporting nation that prides itself on sporting excellence and participation, should feel ashamed about.
Everyone seems to know about gender bias in sport but yet little is ever done to improve it. There are a number of reasons why, the main being that the Australian media and sponsors have this misconception that the public do not want to know about women’s sports, which is becoming increasingly untrue of this contemporary equitable society.
With the advancements in sport science, coaching and management women’s sport has become a better product and sporting bodies, the Australian media and sponsors should realise this. Unfortunately, poor marketing leads to poor media coverage, which leads to lack of sponsorship, which leads to poor media focus and thus this vicious cycle starts again, under the guise that the public are not fussed about hearing about women’s sport.
The reason why women’s sport coverage has gone backwards is because events like horse racing are more heavily promoted, and Australians need to influence those covering sport that women’s sport is more important than the four legged kind, in order to affect change.
It’s a bet that I hope pays off in the very near future.