It is well-documented, and I am well aware of the fact that male sport receives far more coverage than female sport by our media. It is something that frustrates me, particularly because the disparity is so widely accepted by people. When the #everydaysexism in reaches ridiculous levels, I contact sports editors.
But even I was dumbfounded this morning when reading an article in one of our national newspapers reporting on the winners of the sportsperson of the year awards for college sport in Wellington. On first glance it appeared that it was an article only about the "Sportsman of the Year" - it was his him and his award named in the article title, and his achievements were listed first and dominated most of the article. I read through the article and I was surprised to realise that this was an article about BOTH the sportswoman and the sportsman awards.
Here is the article:
The journalist has relegated the female award to much lesser importance than the male award. This is despite the female winner being the ONLY person ever to win the award more than twice (a huge achievement in itself), having represented New Zealand in her sport, being awarded a USA University sports scholarship AND having an individual world ranking.
Both of these people should be hugely proud of their achievements and of winning these awards. It is likely that both of their families will cut out and save this newspaper article as a record of their achievement. Yet, for both families (and indeed everyone else reading it), this article gives a very clear message: The most important award of the evening was that won by the male. The sportswoman award is clearly secondary. On an individual level, this is disappointing. On a macro level such journalism has real flow-on effects to female sports participation in our communities.
I hate that my kids are STILL growing up in a world where female sporting achievements are STILL minimised. It is not that complex or difficult for sports journalists to take small steps in making a more equal and just world.
Rachel is a writer and educator whose fields of interest include sexuality education, gender, feminism and youth development.