Media Must Do More for Women in Sports

| May 21, 2015

Media coverage of women in various sports codes has been identified as wanting hence the call for concerted efforts to change the trend.

Delegates who attended Women in Sport Media Workshop in Doha from Africa, Asia and Oceania hd committed to lead the change in media coverage of women in sport. Different delegates were of the view that enough was not done in terms of covering women in sport.

Their sentiments were shared by International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport, marketing and public relations manager, Boitumelo Kenosi who told BOPA that women stories are never balanced especially in the local context.

She said most of the time if women were covered, they did not even make it to the prime pages, more especially with the private media whose main aim was to sell papers.

Kenosi further said the general believe seems to be that male dominated sport or male sport attracts more attention and hence would sell more papers resulting in good returns for the investors, adding media fail to profile women sport and hence it has little if any appeal in this context.

Women in sport, she said are generally portrayed as minority contributors who participate in sport only for leisure.

According to Kenosi women are viewed as the weaker part of sport with views often tied to their sensitive nature adding they are rarely seen to be full and willing participants with a passion for what they do and with a possibility of making their sport a way of life and making a living out of it.

“It is hardly ever that they get profiled to be seen or to see opportunities beyond their immediate boarders at the least”, she said.

What was frustrating, she said was that a story of a woman in sport is hardly the main story or the prominent story, noting that such a story could be used as a filler.

The only time such a story receive any kind of prominence would be if there are fewer stories around male dominated sport.

Talking about pictures of women in sport that appears in newspapers, the IWG Marketing and PR manager said most of the time the pictures portrayed women as sex symbols, and the concentration often seems to be on the physical appearance rather than on the capability of the player.

Quizzed if she thinks women enjoy their femininity in sport, she said there are a lot of limiting factors as sport is mostly dominated by men, therefore it makes it hard for women to fully enjoy their femininity without fear of evoking unwanted aances and insinuations from their male counterparts, like coaches.

“In my view being a part of a sporting community that is male dominated and without proper protection like policies makes it hard for any woman to say they are fully liberated to enjoy and express their femininity,” she said.

Kenosi said the only time the media write about women is only when they have done something extra-ordinary, having done something ten times as well as her male counterpart for them to be worthy of any air time.

Furthermore, she said the pressure is more when it comes to women in sport because they have to outlive expectations and stand out more in order to be taken seriously.

She however said moving forward the media need to improve coverage of women in sport, and the number one key is to fully profile women in sport, adding that it was only through the media that different stake holders can package great sports women and be able to sell them to the fans, the investors, sponsors, and in turn make them profitable.

“It is the media that has the power and platform to close the huge gap that exists between male sport participants and female sport participants”, she said.

Meanwhile during the Doha Women in Sport Media Workshop, the president of the Qatar Women’s Sport Committee (QWSC) and recipient of the 2013 IOC Women and Sport Award World Trophy, Ahlam Al-Mana said while progress has been made over the years in bringing attention to gender equality in sport, greater effort by all involved is clearly needed.

She said it should be brought to light the factors and challenges that women face in increasing coverage of women in sport and in just two days in Doha, significant strides were made by a movement focused on change.

Ahlam Al-Mana said it was clear that the Olympic family, the business world, key decision-makers and the media need to work together, take concerted and relentless action and be champions for women in sport in order to speed gender equality.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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