6 09 2009

I was going to write a piece tonight on an interesting question which I heard tonight whilst watching The West Wing (yes, I am playing catch-up a little as I missed the boat when it was on the TV. I am currently making my way through season 4). However, my own general fatigue coupled with my feeling of injustice mean I’m going to write briefly about something else. I will return to my West Wing musings at some other point.

Like  many people I suppose, I am a creature of habit. When it comes to the interweb I have certain websites I check daily, usually in the same order. I checked these sites tonight, and found this story on the BBC. Yes, it seems that the England Ladies have made it to the final of a major tournament in dramatic fashion (an extra time victory over the Dutch). This should be applauded. They have done well to get this far in a major tournament (whilst they were amongst the favourites, the Germans, Italians and Swedish were more fancied before the tournament commenced).

I then moved onto, the next website stop on my list. As a major sporting site, I was expecting some form of acknowledgment of the achievements of the Ladies on the site’s home page. I was disappointed to see that this wasn’t there. So I dug around for ten minutes, looking for a match report, a post-match interview, just something about this match, and the achievement. I searched the website for both “women’s football” and “england ladies”. Neither produced any relevant hits (although for the former there were a few pieces on the state of the womens game in the UK).

I am shocked that Sky Sports, a reputable, multi-national media outlet has nothing on its website to record the achievement of the England Ladies team. Now I know that womens sport is less well observed in this country than the mens forms, but for there to be nothing on the website is just appalling. I’m disappointed that there is no TV coverage this year of the Women’s Euros, as there was (I think) a few years ago on the Beeb. Women’s sport needs to be encouraged, to be watched, and the only way that this can happen is if it is in the mainstream, there for all to see. If this isn’t going to happen then the next best thing is internet exposure on mainstream websites. The BBC have done this, Sky Sports hasn’t. This is hugely frustrating, and perhaps is indicative of a larger problem within the sporting world relating to gender and various sports (witness the recent, and ongoing, athletics furore; the issues regarding women boxing at the Olympics; even the coverage of England Ladies’ cricketing successes this summer). The media have a huge role to play in the representation of women’s sport. Currently they are failing these sportswomen who strive to succeed, and, it seems, have much more international success than their male counterparts.

Ed: as a subscript, I have left some comments in the Sky Sports feedback form on the site, and await a reply. I will post the response as and when I get one.




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