Sports Media Coverage of Female Athletes

Through sport there are unlimited possibilities that can reach a broad range of individuals whether it be through devoted sports fans, or aspiring athletes. Sport is both viewed and played by men and women world-wide, yet women’s sports receive very little media coverage opposed to the dominating men’s sports coverage. This is an important issue in women’s sport because, without media coverage, female athletes lose out on sponsors, fans, and potentially the income that they deserve. 

The lack of media coverage in women’s sport is detrimental to young girls seeking role models in female sports. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls are found to drop out of sport at two times the rate compared to boys. However, this is not due to the absence of skill or passion, Rather, it is due to several reasons which include the overall fact that women’s sporting events go unfunded and, more often than not, underpromoted, along with the experience of poor coaching, or for the fear of being labelled as a lesbian.

In hopes of providing female athletes with more power and to give young girls the role model they deserve, Adidas launched a women-led plan called “She Breaks Barriers.”  The goal of this campaign aims to eliminate gendered stereotypes, offer better access to sport for both women and young girls, and to generate an overall better outlook for female athletes among all levels of play. 

She Breaks Barriers Campaign Poster (Source: Sportanddev.org)

Adidas launched a set of videos featuring ESPN host Maria Taylor and four athletes: Soccer and Olympic gold-medalist Becky Sauerbrunn, International marathon runner Rahaf Khatib, world-class hurdler Keni Harrison, and WNBA play Layshia Clarendon. The series of videos exhibits how each of these athletes overcame setbacks and challenges in their sport, with hopes of showing young girls that they too are deserving of a platform.

She Breaks Barriers Campaign Video (Source: Youtube – Adidas)

Shown in the main video launched by Adidas for this campaign presents female athletes of different sports, ages, and ethnicity spreading one clear message which is to give female sport more recognition within the media to provide young girls the opportunity to look up to other women and see that they are ‘unstoppable.’ An important take away message in the Adidas ad is that “if girls don’t see women in sport, they won’t stay in sport.” It can become discouraging for young female athletes putting in as much, if not more, effort than some male athletes and never receiving the same recognition for their hard work and dedication to sport. Through media coverage of women in sport, there may be a better sense of hope for these young, developing female athletes.

In April 2019 Adidas partnered with Twitter to present Women’s High School Volley-Ball, and Soccer Teams from across the country. All games were livestreamed on an Adidas Twitter account which can be found at @3StripeLive. Media coverage has always been shown to display men in sport over women in sport for numerous years. Although this has been the case for as far back as sports began, the number and level of talent in women’s sports has quickly advanced and should be recognized and shown in the media. Thanks to companies like Adidas, women can be recognized for their talents, skills, and abilities within their sport. It is important as a society to continue to further understand the importance of women in sport and to display women in sport to be just as important as men in sport.  

hillarygsmallman

Featured Image: She Break Barriers Ad Poster (Source: Sporsora)

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