Women in Sport

In Ancient times, women were not allowed to either watch or participate in physical activity. Back then a woman had to be passive and obedient to be attractive to her male friends. Traditionally sport has been dominated by men. It has even been argued that sport was harmful to women. But with the 1960s women’s liberation movement this attitude changed dramatically when women demanded gender equality.

Although women were getting more and more involved in sport from the 1960s, there is still a long way to go. Numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that there are more men than women participating in organised sport and physical activity (29% of males compared with 24% of females).

Australia is a nation extremely interested in sport. But it’s usually male sport that get talked about and get the media coverage. Women in sport are struggling to get media coverage.

Australian snowboarder Torah Bright. Creator: VancityAllie

The research project, Towards a Level Playing Field, undertaken by the Australian Sports Commission in 2008-09 shows the media coverage of sport to be overwhelmingly male dominated. Only 9% of all sport coverage in Australian television news media was coverage of women in sport.

Media coverage is crucial for any sport, and for female sport to grow it needs more coverage in the media. Young girls need female role models to look up to. They need to see that women can make it as elite athletes.

The Australian Sports Commission understands how important it is to promote women in sport and has made it “a key focus area for the future development of sport in Australia”. This shows that we’re moving in the right direction in Australia and it will be exciting to see the results of this development in the years to come.



Filed under Research, Women in Sport

2 responses to “Women in Sport

  1. Good post Linn.

    In terms of making a positive intervention into the coverage of women in sports what sort of media enterprise are you thinking can do this? Is there an audience for coverage of women sports? Where is this audience?

  2. The media enterprise I’m thinking of developing will be based around female sport in Australia. It will have profiles of the best female athletes in the country and their stories of how they got where they are today. It’s important to show girls in particular the women behind the goal medals. This will hopefully inspire young girls to achieve their goals in sport.

    There will also be a section where a new young up and coming athlete gets profiled every month. The audience will also be able to send in pictures for a photo gallery of young women playing sport.

    I believe there is an audience for coverage of women sport. Women like to read about other successive women. They are often interested in the stories behind the success and that’s the stories I want to tell.

    I think my audience will mainly be women who participate in sport themselves. My focus will be to try and reach girls between 15-25 years of age.

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