Thursday, April 12, 2012

Do you see sexism in your sport?

Female media managers locked out of press conferences, questions on your sexual preferences and strings of comments on your appearance – just some of the issues raised by an interesting BBC documentary “Sexism in Football” this week.

Narrated by journalist Gabby Logan, the doco was packed with examples of behaviour you might have thought extinct by now. Based on interviews with women from “Women in Football” (WiF), it was an eye-opener.

Having worked in boxing for years, it wasn’t so much that the behaviour was shocking but I was surprised it takes place in such a mainstream sport. *shakes head at self *

Had to laugh at this story though: Logan was working at a football match and the fans started shouting: ‘Get your tits out’. Sitting in the press box, she ignored them as did the other journalists. Then Sir Bobby Robson, renowned former England manager, turned to the crowd, lifted his shirt and proceeded to massage his chest in their general direction. Priceless.

One thing mentioned in every interview will ring a bell for any woman working or playing in a male-dominated sphere – don’t rock the boat! Some of the women Logan approached declined to be interviewed, while others visibly pulled their punch-lines.

“Sexism in Sport” was reaching for positivity towards the end, looking at the inclusion of Helen Rabbatts on the FA Board and other changes. There's been a big shift for example since this story of the Dick Kerr Ladies in 1921. This is what really makes the doco I think, we do have to recognise the huge progress made in the last 50 years but the trick is to keep on pushing.

What do you think – has your sport changed, is there more to do?

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