International Women’s Day is celebrated to honor the history of fights and achievements of women around the world. But, it is also a time for reflection, especially when we talk about women in sports. In many countries, sports are still seen as something made for men, and much of this perception comes from the media itself. According to a study conducted by the Cambridge University, men are commonly depicted by the media as ‘fastest’, ‘real’, ‘great’ and ‘strong’, in contrast, women are commonly referred to as ‘aged’, ‘unmarried’, ‘pregnant’ or ‘older’.
Women get less media coverage than men and when they do, they are much more likely to be portrayed off the field, out of uniform, in sexualized poses and being asked questions about their personal lives and physical appearance. In the USA 40% of all sports participants are women, and yet, they only receive between 2 and 4% of press coverage. In Brazil, that number is around 3% and in the Old Continent the situation is not so different, standing at 5%. How can we begin to change this?
Sports fans have a hunger for news, and they don’t care if it is men’s or women’s sports. All they want to see is their idols playing and bringing trophies home. If people had the opportunity to know more about women athletes, what they have achieved or what they have overcome, they would certainly love it. There are a lot of great events and stories which can be covered to give those fans the same kind of excitement.
Recently we have seen the union of 4 Olympians to elevate women’s voices. Alex Morgan, Sue Bird, Simone Manuel, and Chloe Kim have joined together to fight against the underrepresentation of women by creating TOGETHXR, a media and commerce company. We hope that this will be the starting point of a significant change.