Society has mostly embraced equality in the work place, but sport journalism still belongs to a boys club. While the coverage of women’s sport across the world is already unequal to that of males, often the publicity focuses on everything else but their sporting abilities.
I found that sport is the most covered topic in Pakistani media with over a quarter of all coverage. Yet only 10% of this coverage is of women sport or women athletes.
Even, when women sport events are reported on they are often broadcast during odd hours, treated as less credible events or portrayed as a novelty instead of a serious sport event showcasing talented sports women.
“Online commentary points to girls and women as dominating social media during the [Olympic] games. Yet in both social and mainstream media, this attention shows that female athletes often found their looks, style of dress and physical appearance to be cause for comment”
“Women have made consistent contributions to Pakistani sports at all levels, yet their achievements receive limited coverage by the mass media”.
Traditionally sport has been a male dominated field and sport women still struggle to get the same sponsorships or opportunities.
“It’s a tough task being a Pakistani sportswoman as the vast majority of women’s sport is largely amateur and plays second fiddle to their male counterparts”
Women’s sport in Pakistan does not receive the same amount of media coverage as traditional male sports like hockey, football, volleyball and cricket and because of this women sports struggle to attract sponsors.
The level of coverage of women’s sport is simply a reflection of the level of interest viewers have in the sport. While this might be the case, if viewers are not exposed to more women’s sport their interest will not grow. More importantly this lack of coverage has negative effects on the women sports themselves.
“Due to a lack of funding and media coverage, women teams face a bleak future as the country’s best talent is lost when players turn their back on the game” . Because women sport is not very lucrative many women can’t pursue a career in sport.
This stops our women sport teams from reaching their full potential and further discourages sponsors from investing in a team, fuelling the cycle of inequality.
It is up to the media to start changing the perception of women sports as less important and less interesting than traditional male sports. The media need to change their attitude towards covering women sport in order for viewers to change their perceptions of women sports. If there is any hope of women sport reaching the same levels as male sports then media institutions and sponsors need to start investing in them.