It was a busy weekend of sport including the FA Cup Final and the England International match. As I was sat watching the commentary with my mum adding an extra narrative, I suddenly realised it was an ‘all male’ event. When I looked at the half time discussion those speaking were all men. Then when I caught a new advert on Sky Sports I was confronted by the same thing. It was a series of men promoting a range of sports from football through to golf.
Around 20 years ago I worked on a local newspaper where there were just a handful of people who did every reporting job going. I had the great fun of doing sports reporting, or to be more precise working as a football reporter. It was quite a lonely place at times with only two women reporters in a room full of men, and some days just me on my own. This was the early 1990s but even so it was an unnerving place. I had to develop a range of coping and survival mechanisms.
With recent events I look at the reporters and commentators currently working and feel we have only made a few short steps. How can it be acceptable for sport to be such a male dominated environment? The recent golf decision not to allow women into the club has no place in modern life. This shows how far we still have to go to gain some equality.
It has to start with young children in school, who need to be regularly provided with role models and an opportunity to find a way to shine. There are many options available and these can and should be tailored to gain the maximum impact and encourage people to consider their future.
The media, and particularly sports journalists, appear to be one of the few remaining bastions of individual activity that has led people to get busy apologising but remains unchanged. We have to find a different way forward but it needs effort and focus.
There is something that is shocking when there are none or very few women seen within live communication broadcasts. Sports is not just something for the boys it has so much to offer everyone. I think we all need to take a look around us to identify areas that can be subject to challenge.