I’m not given to military metaphor, but in this case it’s forgivable as this is what we advocates of women’s sport have to do in 2016.
We’ve come so far this year, but I’m sick of saying “….will be the year we finally break through into the mainstream” and then it doesn’t happen.
This year I have profiled (and met) so many brilliant individuals, organisations, media platforms and crusaders getting the women’s sports word out there, but we need more.
We need to get across two vital things:
WOMEN: it’s ok (in fact it’s brilliant) to play, officiate, coach, administrate, run and write about ANY sport you want
WOMEN: it’s ok (in fact it’s brilliant) to watch on TV (if you’re lucky), read about or support in person any women’s sport you want.
And until we get those two messages across we will not achieve even a modicum of equality.
Unfortunately there is no doubt we still face discrimination, derision, even downright hostility to our aims and the vicious circle is still with us:
But we CAN break into this circle. Every day individuals and organisations are trying their hearts out to do this.
I Know I would say this, being a journalist, but I still think that the media is the key, There are so many fantastic platforms for women’s sport out there – see my earlier article for details. But, in a sense, this is ghettoising women’s sport. You can get the news and results, fixtures etc., that you want, but you have specifically to go to women’s sports platforms to do it.
Things won’t change in the populace at large until women’s sport gets far more mainstream coverage. And this, I feel, is how we have to break the vicious circle.
Hold our mainstream media to account.
Women’s sports journalists – pitch, pitch and pitch again.
Once we begin to gain the coverage we deserve, everything else will come. In these straitened times we cannot rely on the foresight of companies such as SSE (sponsoring the women’s FA cup) or Helena Morrissey/Newton (sponsoring the Boat Race); we have to go out and get it.
It’s infuriating that again and again we have to prove the worth of our “product”. But we do. And the good thing is, we can.
So, let’s do it. Let’s get together and show the man and woman on the street that we mean business, because I can’t keep saying “20… was the year we nearly made it”.
If you’re interested in discussing how we can go forward together please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from anyone passionate about or involved in any sport.
This is, honestly, my last rant for 2015. Wishing my readers and followers a Happy Christmas. Bring on 2016 – I’m up for the fight, are you?