Melissa Barbieri spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about her fundraising campaign to play in the W-League this season. It’s a well established fact that elite sportswomen who represent their state or country often struggle financially.
There’s a key issue I feel is right at the crux of the problem around encouraging more people, especially women, to get out to game or switch on the tellie and watch more women’s sport.
This comment on the article by Teresa sums it up nicely. The emphasis is mine:
I have long had a conflicted interest in sport. As a child I resented it, I resented the weekends of TV devoted to the male dominated sports, where the women in the family would cook and clean while the fellas got to watch footy or cricket or soccer or whatever sport the media was focussed on.
I told myself I didn’t like sport, despite loving to play netball, softball and water sports.
As an adult I simply discarded the sports section of the paper so I could ignore the invisibility of my gender.
Then recently in this digital age, I felt that old resentment resurface when I bought my iPad. Flicking through screen after screen of sports articles I was reminded again at the shocking absence of women featured, with about one article to 15 on a female in sport, and often it’s a “human interest” article like this one, rather than an article reporting the achievement or dedication of sportswomen.
Two years ago a horse won sportswoman of the year, insulting every dedicated actual sportswoman out there.
The media could help shape balance our cultural love of sport, it should lead by promoting it with fairer reporting. Women are spectators and players too, the paying market to fund women in sport is there, it’s just ignored.
Hear hear. If you’re out there Teresa, there’s a community of fans online who believe the same as you do. Some do work for mainstream publications like the SMH, others, like myself, have elected to make our own media. It’s one way we get to see the news we want to see.
Don’t stop putting pressure on the established media but things will change if you follow US. Support US. Show the mainstream media and sport’s governing bodies there IS support out there for women in sport. It’s our growing numbers that will convince them. And for the love of… GET TO A GAME. Buy a membership to your favourite team. Put your money where your mouth is. Support these women with your actions and your words and then we’ll see some real change.