Stylist’s Fair Game campaign highlighted that women receive just 5% of all sports coverage. The new secretary for culture, media and sport, Maria Miller, tells us why now is the time for that to change.
“From the moment that Lizzie Armitstead won Great Britain’s first medal, London 2012 looked set to be a fantastic event for women’s sport. And the performances just kept coming: Jess Ennis, Laura Trott, Hannah Cockcroft, Ellie Simmonds, Nicola Adams, Sarah Storey and more. London 2012 became the ‘Women’s Games’
Like most people, I spent a lot of the summer glued to the television. The British media did a fantastic job in championing the success of our female athletes, helping hugely to raise the profile of women’s sport.
But we all know this is not the norm. Women’s sport is largely a rare sight on television. It’s buried in the schedules, if it gets shown at all. For example, how many people know that the England women’s rugby union team reached the World Cup final in 2010, or that the England women’s cricket team are the current world champions?
I want to see more women and girls taking part in sport. Female stars like our Olympians and Paralympians are powerful role models, and their inspiration is vital in encouraging more women and girls to take up sport. Sustained media coverage is a key part to keeping this momentum going.
Women’s sport is buried in the TV schedules, if it gets shown at all
The huge television audiences over the summer have demonstrated that the public have a real appetite for mainstream coverage of women’s sport. When I was appointed, one of the first things I did was write to the broadcasters to ask how this momentum could be continued.
Editorial control must remain with broadcasters, but I hope that by urging them to continue to give space to women’s sport, we can capitalise on this success. If not, we risk the names of our London 2012 heroines fading into the background, losing a once- in-a-generation opportunity.
We, the viewing public, have a responsibility as well. Supply generally meets demand, so it is high time that we told the media what we want. Getting behind Stylist’s Fair Game For Women In Sport campaign is a good place to start.”