Women’s sports have quickly become popular, but most professional leagues struggle to get regular media coverage. Roughly forty percent of sports participants are women, however, just four percent of total sports media coverage is dedicated to women’s sports, according to a 2018 report from UNESCO. Two-time FIFA World Cup champion Alex Morgan revealed that she believes this is shocking and it’s something that can be changed.
Alex Morgan About Gender Equality in Sports Media Coverage
As she was growing up, Morgan was used to seeing men’s sports on television all the time, but outside of the Olympics, women’s sports were nonexistent. She says that she didn’t realize that just because it was normal, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t until the U.S. Women’s National Team came back from the 2011 World Cup, where they finished second to Japan and started regularly filling stadiums that Morgan recognized the differences between women’s and men’s soccer. Morgan also explains that financially, the opportunities for men are quite different. Access to top leagues and teams is different… everything is different.
Sue Bird also has similar stories from her nearly twenty-year basketball career, during which she won four WNBA league titles, four FIBA World Cup championships, and four Olympic gold medals, but even basketball-obsessed American sports media wasn’t covering the WNBA in the early days of her career. She knew that when she turned the TV on to watch highlights from the day, she wasn’t seeing women, and this truly upset her.
Bird’s frustration with the lack of coverage of women’s sports has only intensified since then. The same UNESCO report from 2018 was particularly eye-opening. Bird says that the piece of the pie women have is so small as she refers to the four percent figure.
Togethxr Can Bring Back Women on Media
This is exactly why Togethxr focuses on young storytellers and athletes who are already changing the game. Sports media still has a long way to go when it comes to true gender equality, and it will not be an easy path.