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Viewpoint - Yes to success

Women’s sport must start getting the attention it deserves, says Ruth Holdaway

The next big sports event on the horizon almost invariably focuses on men’s sport – this time it’s football’s World Cup.

Journalists, fans and commercial partners know what to expect, when to expect it and what sort of experience will be delivered, all of which has a tendency to leave women’s sport in the shadows.

This situation has an impact throughout sport – and sports physiotherapy is not left untouched.

Females in sport are relatively low-paid and tend to hold lower-profile positions. TUC analysis shows that women in sport are paid 27.5 per cent less than men, which works out at £10,000 less in earnings a year.

While this pay gap is a problem for female physios in its own right, it is one part of a much bigger problem: a cycle of low commercial investment in, and a poor media profile for, women’s sport. This cycle will take some breaking.

Our Women’s Sport: Say Yes to Success report shows that while interest from television companies in covering women’s sport is undoubtedly increasing, women’s sport still makes up only seven per cent of all sports coverage.

And despite great progress in the development of commercial partnerships in women’s cycling, football, netball and rowing, women’s sport has accounted for a pitiful 0.4 per cent of the total value of reported UK sponsorship deals in sport.

Our new campaign, Say Yes to Success, aims to secure increases in both commercial investment for, and media coverage of, women’s sport.

This is because we know that coverage of successful sportswomen is important to show girls and women and that they have the right of to take part in, and benefit from, sport – whether as an athlete, or to choose a career such as sports physiotherapy.

To turn this around, women’s sport must secure more media coverage, more commercial investment, and excite and attract the fan base.

To do this women’s sport needs to develop its own calendar of major events which fans, the media, and commercial partners come to expect, anticipate and plan for.

Tweet #SayYes to Success in Women’s Sport and pledge your support Say yes to Success

  • Ruth Holdaway is the chief executive, Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation

 

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