INTHEBLACK November 2023 - Magazine - Page 34
Robert Prange/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images
F E AT U R E
Swiatek in action
Lesia Tsurenko at
BNL D’Italia at Foro
Italico in Rome,
Italy, May 2023.
Mariona Caldentey of
Spain celebrate after
the team’s victory in
the FIFA Women’s
World Cup Australia
& New Zealand 2023
final against England
in Sydney, Australia,
34 INTHEBLACK November 2023
Just like in the corporate world, many
obstacles remain in place and risk limiting
the economic potential of women’s sport.
Women account for 40 per cent of
sportspeople and attract a strong viewership,
especially when a national team is playing. The
ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 held in
South Africa, for example, attracted 192 million
global viewing hours. However, the ability to
deliver strong TV ratings has not been matched
by its representation in media coverage.
Recent research from Purdue University
shows that women’s sports coverage totals
about 5.4 per cent of sports airtime. A Signal
AI analysis of 250,000 news articles in more
than 80 languages has found that women’s
tennis Grand Slam events receive 41 per cent
less coverage than men’s events.
Along with structural barriers, sexist attitudes
continue to limit the potential of women’s
sports. A 2023 report published by the UK’s
Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket,
for example, reveals that women cricketers still
routinely experience sexism and misogyny.
The report also shows that the women’s game
is treated as subordinate to the men’s game.
A response to the report by Women in Sport
notes women have “little or no power, voice
or influence” within cricket’s decision-making
“For every couple of steps forward for
women’s sport, there seems to be a couple
of steps back as well,” says Michael Burke,
a sports ethicist at Victoria University.
Burke points to the length of the AFLW
season as an example. Currently about half
the duration of the men’s, the shorter season
can make it harder for teams to reach their
potential before the competition season ends.
“Key to equality is being able to control your
own destiny, but it still seems that women
players and women’s competitions are expected
to be satisfied with the crumbs that the men’s
organisations are giving them,” says Burke.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
A number of sporting leagues are seeking
to even the playing field and reap the broad
benefits that women’s sport presents.
Football Australia, the country’s governing
body of the “world game”, has pledged to
become the nation’s largest community
sport to reach gender parity for participation
by 2027. Its Legacy ’23 Plan is seeking to
champion gender equality and inclusivity
Carlee Millikin, general manager, World
Cup Legacy Programs, at Football Australia,
says current participation rates for women and
girls is 26 per cent. High-profile corporate