Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Television coverage of women in sport needed

Waterford County Images
It was refreshing to read this article a few days ago quoting an Irish politician asking for more television coverage of women's sport.

Cllr Joe Ryan was quoted as saying: "I have written to the Controller for Programmes at RTE to ask that it would be considered in the interest of gender equity."

The national station usually gives a big preview of the male All-Ireland finals while allowing the women's games to just go ahead unheralded. It's just one of those things apparently, and I would be surprised to see it change. I'm sure audience figures and so on would be quoted against the idea, but all the same it's nice to see someone thinking outside the box for once.

Cllr Ryan went on compare GAA and tennis: "I see no difference in terms of what female and male players do at the top level to succeed and I would like to see RTÉ accept this in terms of its national coverage of the national games. Gender Equity has benefitted tennis enormously and will benefit Gaelic Games too."

The key point there is that there is no difference in the effort put in by the male or female teams. I'm the first to admit there can be a skills difference between men and women doing the same sport but that is less and less the case.

Most examples of shocking games/fights cited by detractors of women's sports date back to the years when female athletes weren't trained properly or taken seriously by their sporting federations. Everytime someone speaks out like Cllr Ryan did, there is more chance of real change happening.

And if you're looking for more positive coverage, try this article from an English paper at the weekend on Japanese motorcycle racer Maya Sato.

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