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.
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.