By Muhammad Hamid
It’s an issue that infuriates many. Why is it that women’s sports don’t get as much coverage as men’s? Last December, I attended a girls’ basketball game for my friend’s sister where I was shocked to find only half the venue filled, “quite a contrast to when the boys play,” as my friend stated.
It’s similar to the FIFA Women’s World Cup where not a lot of people watch it. However, when it’s about men, it is completely different. It’s time to equally recognise women and their achievements in sports and show how we praise the opposite sex.
According to the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Centre for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, women’s athletics receive only about 4 percent of all sports media coverage.
This just goes to show how unpopular women’s sports are even though record numbers of girls and women are getting into sports.
“Mainstream sports media outlets are essential,” said Dr Cheryl Cooky, an associate professor of American studies at Purdue University. “It’s a space where men can go and know it’s going to be by, for, and about men,” she added.
The amount of money that is spent on men’s sports isn’t the same amount spent on women’s. Therefore, there are fewer chances for women to get scholarships which lead to fewer opportunities to continue sport after college or university at a professional level.
The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) estimates that in 2013, women’s sports received 7% of coverage and 0.4% of the total value of commercial sponsorships.
Considering salaries alone, women athletes are paid lower than their male counterparts, so if a woman was to receive £70,000, a man will receive at least double that amount.
There is a monumental difference in sports prize money between the genders.
A BBC Sports study into prize money found 30% of sports reward men more than women. The disparity between the two genders is rampant and this gender gap must be closed.
Sexism and stereotypes also contribute to the problem. Some people think that if women play, they are more vulnerable to injury. Others point to their lack of strength and power of the female body and undervalue the skills females possess as sportswomen. Stereotypes such as “women should just stay at home” and “sport isn’t for them” should all be left behind. Times have changed and people have moved on.
In the end, there is a significant difference between the two genders when it comes to payment, coverage or fame in sports. Yet, attitudes have been shifting and changes will eventually come and despite a slow progress, more women and girls will feel empowered for who they are. Therefore, when a sport has both male and female athletes involved, there should be equality whether it is in pay, coverage or recognition.