Caribbean Women Sports

Supporting Women in Sport int he Caribbean

Barbados Cruise Past T&T

Barbados Cruise Past T&T 150 150 CWESN

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force Divas’ batting woes continued, as they slumped to their second consecutive loss in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Twenty20 (T20) Blaze tournament, at Sabina Park Jamaica yesterday.

The defending champions were in a must win encounter against Barbados to keep their hopes of defending their title alive, but it was not to be and the T&T team struggled with both bat and the ball in the third round of matches played. They only managed 92 for 5 in their 20 overs, which Barbados knocked off easily in 15.4 overs.

T&T skipper, Merissa Aguilleira proposed that her team, though well prepared for the tournament, have not been able to find the necessary aggression for the T20 format. “Apparently our aggression went to sleep, and we have so much patience and I think leading into the 50 overs that will be good for us, but it’s definitely not for T20. Hard luck, we were prepared, but we just couldn’t execute.”

She commended Cooper for her knock and said her team would still stay focused and hope to finish in the top three. “Britney came in in the middle and did really well, she batted well, ran well between the wickets and I think that’s exactly what we needed, some kind of aggression,” she said. “At the end of the day we want to make sure we stay close to the top of the table, we know first and second place are definitely gone, but after all, according to how the other games play off, we have a chance of staying in the top three.”

Barbados won the toss and opted to bowl first. The decision seemed to pay off, with T&T losing three quick wickets inside the first half of the innings. Shania Abdool was the first to go, caught off the bowling of Shanika Bruce for 4. Reniece Boyce followed an over later, caught and bowled by Shamilia Connell for 10 and Stacy-Ann King was the third wicket to fall early, getting caught lbw to Deandra Dottin for 2.

Cooper showed her experience though and kept the runs flowing while steadying the T&T innings and getting them to a respectable total of 92 for five at the end of their 20 overs. Her innings of 47 included five fours and came off 46 balls. She eventually fell to Connell in the penultimate over.

In reply, Barbados made very light work of the small total, racing to their target in 15.4 overs. The Bajan opening pair of Hayley Matthews and Danie Small made their intentions clear from ball one, with Matthews in particular being very aggressive. She cleared the ropes twice in the first two overs, dispatching Lee-Ann Kirby’s second ball of the innings for six, and then following it up with a four the very next ball.

Kirby’s first over would go for 15 and Aguilliera no doubt hoped that veteran WI off-spinner, Anisa Mohammed would clean up, but Mohammed soon found herself under attack as well. Mohammed’s first over went for 13, with Matthews clearing the straight back boundary while also getting a four in that over.

Matthews was eventually caught off the bowling of Shenelle Lord for 39 (23 balls), but Barbados were already more than half way home at that point. Dottin joined Small in the middle and the two kept the score ticking over effortlessly as none of the T&T bowlers beside Lord seems to have a response for their aggression. Lord was the pick of the T&T bowlers, grabbing three wickets; Matthews (39), Dottin (14) and Kycia Knight (2). She finished with figures of three for 17 off her four overs.

Speaking after the match, Barbados captain, Shakera Selman commended her team for their ability to execute in every match thus far, but acknowledged that they would not be relaxing anytime soon with Guyana and Jamaica still to come.

“I think we should be a lot more confident now, but we can’t be complacent. Guyana also defeated Trinidad easily and we know what to expect when we face Guyana. We have to play every game hard and hopefully we can improve as the tournament goes on,” said Selman.

Asked what has been the difference for Barbados this year, given that their team is largely unchanged, she said the team work and WI player contributions have been the highlight of their tournament thus far.

“This year we are really trying to work as a team and we are really asking the WI players to put their hands up. This year we are missing Kyshona (Knight) so we know someone has to double up for her. I think Hayley really put her hand up today and really put Trinidad on the back foot.”

More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/148051436@N05/?

Also in action yesterday, Jamaica brushed Leeward Islands aside to record their 3rd straight victory in the tournament and putting them on course for the title. The Leewards were bundled out for 68 in 20 overs with Eldora Sylvester top-scoring with 13. Vanessa Watts claimed 5/9 and Chadean Nation had 3/15.

Nation returned with the bat to score an unbeaten 28, with Jamaica and WI captain Stafanie Taylor hitting 19 as Jamaica responded with 70/3 in 12 overs.

 

In reply, Juliana Nero and Stacy-Ann Adams gave Windwards just the impetus they needed to start. In high contrast to past innings, both were very attacking and kept within range of the run rate at every point. Nero lost her opening Partner in Rachel Cyrus early, caught by wicket-keeper Campbell off the bowling of Erva Giddings, but Nero and Adams combined to give their side hope.

Nero was eventually run out for 34 with the score on 40, but Adams kept going and contributed 23 before she was bowled by Akaze Thompson. Edelyn Thurtin provided a quickfire 21 off 10 deliveries to reduce the deficit for Windwards and despite losing Quiana Joseph and Nerissa Crafton in quick succession, Carena Noel and Aria Fortune held on to bring it home with 3 balls to spare.

 

Scores: Trinidad and Tobago 92/4 (20 overs) (Britney Cooper 46; Shamilia Connell 2-17) lost to Barbados 93/4 (15.4 overs) (Hayley Matthews 39, Hayley Matthews 22; Shenelle Lord 3-17)

Leeward Islands 68/10 (20 overs) (Eldora Sylvester 10; Vanessa Watts 5-9) lost to Jamaica 70/3 (12 overs) Chedean Nation 28, Stafanie Taylor 19)

Guyana 121/5 (20 overs) (Shemaine Campbell 61, Akaze Thompson 20; Pearl Ettienne 2-19) lost to Windward Islands 122/8 (19.3 overs) (Juliana Nero 34, Stacy-Ann Adams 23, Edelyn Thurtin 21; Tremaine Smartt 2-26)

T&T Look to recover, Barbados confident

T&T Look to recover, Barbados confident 150 150 CWESN

Trinidad and Tobago has put their 7-wicket defeat at the hands of Guyana behind them. This according to T&T skipper, Merissa Aguilleira. T&T were upset by Guyana on Tuesday, in the second round of competition in the Cricket West Indies T20 Blaze, currently being held in Jamaica. While acknowledging that her team has put itself a bit on the back foot, the West Indies wicket-keeper batswoman explained that it’s an all too familiar position that her side has gotten themselves out of before.

“After losing against Guyana yesterday, we know the position we have put ourselves in so we have no choice but to make sure and win the rest of our matches,” said Aguilleira. “For the past couple of years we have been putting ourselves in this position and sometimes it just brings out the best in us and hopefully it works just as it has in years gone by.”

Understanding that her team must now win all their remaining matches if they have any hope of defending their title, she says the goal now is to stay focused, but also enjoy their cricket. The team she says, has already regrouped, acknowledged their mistakes and is looking forward to moving on positively.

“Yes, it was really disappointing for us, but the mood in the camp is great, we came together, we sat down, we had some fun, we relaxed, we put it behind us and now it’s all about moving forward. There was nothing really to go back to the drawing board about, but just minor mistakes we made at certain points and we will be looking forward to defending our title.”

T&T won’t be in for a smooth ride though, as the Bajans, who they face from 10:30 am today, have stayed on top of their opponents in the first two rounds. While they stumbled a bit against the Windward Islands in their first match, being bowled out for 101, but returning to win by 18 runs, they dominated the Leeward Islands in a brief but exciting 10-wicket win on Tuesday.

Barbados packs an arsenal of five West Indies players, including the world no. 1 T20 all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, hard hitting, Deandra Dottin and WI opening bowlers Shakera Selman and Shamilia Connell. Speaking ahead of the match, Matthews explained that while Barbados has what it takes to overcome T&T, they also know it won’t be easy.

“We know Trinidad will be our hardest match up so far, but we also know that we have a very strong team and we are capable of beating any team in the competition,” said Matthews. “Obviously in the last two years they’ve dominated the tournament so we know that if we can get over T&T it would be a major step for us towards winning the title.”

The 20-year old said her team is confident they can win, especially coming off two wins and commended her side for the team effort they have exhibited thus far in the competition and hopes they can carry it into their remaining matches.

Also in action today are Jamaica vs Leeward Islands from 3:30 pm and Guyana vs Windward Islands. Both the Leewards and Windwards are without wins in the competition so far, while Guyana lost to Jamaica in their opening match and the hosts remain unbeaten.

Caribbean Women Entertainment Sport Network (CWESN) is a non profit organization dedicated to covering women in sport. Follow them on Twitter and FB @CWESN, IG @cwesportsnet or at www.cwesn.com

Giddings Wrecks T&T

Giddings Wrecks T&T 150 150 CWESN

Guyana upset defending champions T&T yesterday with a convincing seven-wicket win in the second round of the CWI Women’s T20 Blaze, at Sabina Park, Jamaica.

T&T were forced to make changes to their batting line-up, due to an injury to WI batswoman, Reniece Boyce. It meant that Felicia Walters and Rachel Vincent would face the swinging new ball pair of Erva Giddings and Subrina Munroe, who wreaked havoc on the T&T top order.

In the first round, T&T opened with Boyce and newbie, Shania Abdool.

Giddings removed Vincent and Britney Cooper in successive balls in the third over; the first edging to Millington in slips and the latter, who replaced Vincent, having her off-stump uprooted immediately after. Eight balls later Walters would edge one down the leg off Munroe and Guyana wicket-keeper and captain, Shemaine Campbell made a diving catch to her left to hold on to it.

T&T were gifted their first run in the 4th over by Munroe, who bowled her single wide ball of her 4 over spell which went for 11 runs and produced two wickets. The onslaught continued and with the score on four in the fifth over, T&T skipper, Merissa Aguilleira would also have her off-stump removed by Giddings.

King, who stared in the last match for T&T, looked to rebuild with Abdool, but it would not be her day either and she managed 5 before popping an easy return catch to Plaffiana Millington.

Abdool proved to be the saving grace of the T&T batting, her patience and confident strokeplay rewarding her with a top score of 31, as she saw T&T to a below-par total of 64 at the end of their 20 overs. Giddings was the best bowler for Guyana, grabbing 3-6, while Millington and Thompson picked up two a piece.

In reply, Guyana wasted no time in getting to their target as opener, Sheneta Grimmond, seemed to be in a rush. She found the boundary in the very first over bowled by veteran WI off-spinner, Anisa Mohammed and raced to 17 before she was caught off the bowling of Lee-Ann Kirby at mid-off. Her Partner, Melanie Henry was bowled by Kirby 2 overs later and Shabika Gajnabi followed in the next over without troubling the scorers.

Campbell was not perturbed though and she led her team home effortlessly in an unbeaten innings of 44 that included four fours and two sixes.

Speaking after the match, Campbell credited her team for their performance, “I think the girls played well, we executed well in our bowling department. Everyone recognizes Guyana has a strong bowling line up and we showed that today,” she said. On her batting, the WI wicket-keeper bat said she understood the responsibility she had as the captain and simply went out to deliver.  “As one of the most senior players in the team and the captain, I realized that I needed to go in there and bring the game home for my team, so I did that.”

For T&T, Aguilleira acknowledged that her team’s batting was their downfall and noted that they had work to do ahead of their next match against Barbados tomorrow. “Definitely in the batting department we fell short, we didn’t really apply ourselves as we were supposed to. Losing quick wickets early in the innings was something we didn’t expect and we didn’t really recuperate from there.” She commended Abdool for her bating however, explaining that it was exactly what was needed from the other players as well.  “Credit to Shania Abdool, young player who came in and really settled herself and carried through the innings and showed us what we were supposed to do.”

T&T face Barbados tomorrow and will need to win if they hope to keep their chances of defending their title alive.

Caribbean Women Entertainment Sport Network (CWESN) is a non profit organization dedicated to covering women in sport. Follow them on Twitter and FB @CWESN, IG @cwesportsnet or at www.cwesn.com

SCORES:

T&T 64/8 (20 overs) Shania Abdool 31 n.o; Erva Giddings 6-3, Akaze Thompson 2-7, Plaffiana Millington 2-14 lost to Guyana 70/3 (14.4 overs) Shemaine Campbell 44 n.o; Lee-Ann Kirby 2-12

When Sport Becomes Too Complex for Women

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In February, the President of Cricket West Indies, Dave Cameron, said that; “Firstly, we only have female PE teachers, which is a problem. Most of them don’t know cricket. The game of cricket is very complicated. They don’t know the history and neither are they interested. That becomes an issue. When we went to school, most of our PE teachers, if not all, were male. So they coach cricket, football, track and field, and we’re not getting that any more.”

He followed it up with this: “The issue is we need more men if we are going to grow the game of cricket specifically for the male side because boys learn from men, which is a specific issue.”

Last week a young U19 cricketer, when asked in an interview: “Do you think it’s difficult being a woman in this sport?”, responded by saying: “Yes, I think it’s difficult, because we women get injured pretty easily and it’s very hard to maintain a healthy diet.”

Before all of that, a friend of mine, having heard me speak about the self esteem and body issue challenges young girls deal with in sport, on numerous occasions, finally googled it and discovered that it was an actual problem. As a female athlete herself, she never knew it was a ‘real’ thing, much like Kwanieze John, who couldn’t relate to such a thing, until she started coaching young  girls. Yet, this is a well documented challenge for girls and women in sport.

Recently, I was observing a T&T U20 national women’s football team training, when a parent, standing on the sideline asked me: “How do you think you can get the ‘girl’ out of them (the players) so that they can play better?”

In a world where women are fighting for equal pay and equal rights and National Sporting Organizations (NSO) such as Cricket Australia, understand the simple but huge significance of having their women’s team be named the Australian Women’s Cricket team, and their men the Australian Men’s Cricket team, so that the men are not synonymous with the sport, while the women are ‘othered’, these things make me realize that we have a very long way to go in the Caribbean where gender equality in sport is concerned.

Had the leaders of say England or Australian cricket made the statement Cameron did, just a few months before hosting an ICC Women’s World Cup in their country, the public at large would be calling for their head. In the Caribbean, we saw this as an issue of how qualified PE teachers in Jamaica and the Caribbean, by extension are.

Far from that, it is an issue of how we devalue women in sport and cannot even begin to understand how the statement plays into gender stereotypes and perceptions that contribute significantly to the stagnation of the development of women’s sport.

The fact that the president of the CWI could not only make such a statement, but that the general public did not address it as the issue it is, says quite a lot.

When I listened to a young girl list a challenge of being a woman in sport as ‘women getting injured easily’, it saddened me. Women do not in fact get injured easily when compared to their male counterparts. This is not a thing. When however, girls and women are not provided with the same resources as boys and men and are forced to prepare and play competitive cricket at a high level in a very short space of time due to limited funding, they get injured easily. Because they do not have the resources boys and men are afforded to manage their bodies, they do not have the time, they are asked to play two T20 matches in a single day and on back to back days and play an entire tournament in a week.  In such a situation, any athlete, male or female, will be at an increased risk for injury.

Unfortunately, she probably heard some uninformed person spew this garbage and repeated it herself, because such is often the case when it comes to women in sport.

Without affording women opportunities and resources to improve themselves, many continue to believe the archaic perceptions which point to women not being able to be as competitive in sport as men.

Yet, we see, in other places, that when afforded these resources and opportunities, the performances of female athletes actually skyrockets and they break previously known barriers and perceptions.

How do we address these things? How do we get people to stop buying into the idea that women are not interested in sport (never mind the fact that we don’t market sport to women, don’t encourage girls to play sport at a young age and don’t have ample professional opportunities for women to make sport their career)? How do we get the President of the CWI to understand that a woman’s brain is not incapable of understanding the ‘complex’ nature of cricket (forget Stafanie Taylor’s exploits, because clearly she does not understand the complexity of cricket given her substantial achievements in the sport)?

How do we do this? We need to begin the process of highlighting the issues that people do not even know or understand to be issues. We need to neutralize sport so that it is not a male thing that some girls just ‘happen to be good at’. We need to do more for our girls and women in sport in the Caribbean and it needs to be done at all levels.

Like CWESN on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @CWESN and IG @cwesportsnet as we embark on this journey of education and development of women in sport.

Karyn Forbes

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T&T Senior National footballer, Karyn Forbes inspires as she talks about the importance of discipline, giving back to her community in Tobago and showing the love, in this interview with CWESN.

 

West Indies Women Training During Sri Lanka Series

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Stafanie Taylor

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Mind Games – Exercise Psychology for Physical Recovery

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By Kamasha Robertson

Kamasha is a Sports and Exercise Psychology Consultant (Kamasha Robertson & Associates). At present she is a Sport Psychology Officer at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) she is also a long time High Performance Badminton Player and Pan American Certified Umpire in her sport.

Sport and Exercise Psychology is a sub-discipline within the discipline of kinesiology or the study of physical activity, with a focus on the study of a wide range of physical activities including competitive sport, recreational sport, physical activity, leisure pursuits, physical education, and exercise and fitness activities (Feltz & Kontos, 2002). All these fancy definitions, but really can the application of this science truly benefit us in a world full of busy schedules, illness and sundry delectable food options? Truth is, the idea of putting the concepts of Exercise Psychology into real use into our everyday routines is something that I have personally witnessed transform lives in a positive manner.

About twenty years ago one of my brothers who was quite an avid sportsman, woke up one morning with a limp, as simple as that. From then on his life had been completely transformed as he was diagnosed with having a “Shrinking Cerebellum” that caused his body to lose all of its coordinative abilities. My family watched in horror as this once active child and skilled athlete struggled to grasp simple objects and even found difficulty in speaking fluidly. Within a year after his illness struck, though frustrated and angry, Keesh had decided that through his passion for sports, he desperately craved being active once more.

Back then he said he had no knowledge of an ‘exercise programme’ and simply began attempting one hundred pushups in sets of ten. Keesh explained that he kept pushing himself and telling himself that he could do more each day, he then added sit ups and eventually began lifting some weights. He had enjoyed the adrenalin rush that he was experiencing and was thirsty for more. Though he continues in his struggle, he says: “Everybody’s struggle is different, it may be harder or easier than mine nevertheless it is a struggle, still don’t give up!!!” He has significantly reaped the benefits of incorporating an exercise regime into his daily routine.

Keesh’s tenacity and determination strongly reflect an exercise psychology theory called Self Determination Theory (SDT). SDT represents a broad framework for the study of human motivation and personality. SDT articulates a meta-theory for framing motivational studies, a formal theory that defines intrinsic and varied extrinsic sources of motivation, and a description of the respective roles of intrinsic and types of extrinsic motivation in cognitive and social development and in individual differences (Deci & Ryan, 1985).

The most basic principles that are derived from SDT are ‘Intrinsic’ and ‘Extrinsic’ Motivation. ‘Intrinsic Motivation’ pertains to engagement in an activity because of the inherent pleasures and satisfactions it provides, to the participant, physical activities are enjoyable in their own right and require no exogenous rewards or incentives to be performed (Ryan & Deci, 2000a). On the other hand, one is considered to be ‘Extrinsically Motivated’ if activities are performed in order to obtain some separable outcome, whether it be a tangible reward, an avoidance of a punishment, or the attainment of recognition, or approval.

The story presented is a wonderful example of using that ‘Intrinsic Motivation’, igniting that fire inside of you and using it to fuel your way throughout life’s complicated labyrinth of obstacles, trials, and even joys to find contentment and to triumph. This form of motivation and its concept is particularly interesting as it is seen as a key reason for individual successes in the realm of physical activity and sport. Deci and Ryan (1985) further elaborate that intrinsically motivated individuals have a proneness to be actively moving, manipulating, exploring, and challenging oneself and this conveys multiple adaptive advantages to a growing organism.

A tendency as such is associated with increasing competence within the physical world, the individual’s capacity to cope with its demands. Intrinsically motivated activities are often characterized as fun and enjoyable, however, some argue that only activities that satisfy certain basic psychological needs will be experienced as interests. It is important to consider that within intrinsic motivation there exists a relation between individuals and activities and thus the Cognitive evaluation theory within this would require that one understands how the characteristics of an activity are experienced and engaged by the individual and how the experiences are affected by situational contextual factors and supports.

If we were to compare extrinsic motivation to the former, we will see that it possesses unique characteristics, according to Deci and Ryan (2006) extrinsically motivated people maintain their exercise not because the activities are inherently interesting or enjoyable to them, but because they have something to gain in it. As human beings we generally want to improve their health, or their looks, or because they want to stay in shape to perform other activities (e.g. Trinbagonian carnival culture), including sports.

The fact remains that most physical activities require a combination of both types of motivation, even the most enjoyable sport activities require periods of extrinsically motivated practice and drill to develop specific skills. This leads us to say that extrinsic motivation is still extremely important to the sphere of physical activities, although studies show that exercise tends to be more extrinsically motivated than sport (Frederick & Ryan, 1995; Ryan & Deci, 2006).

So perhaps you ought to begin thinking and reflecting on all those ‘New Year’ resolutions you so eagerly made in anticipation of improving your health in 2014. Real questions are how and when do you get started and more importantly maintain a regime that will have long lasting benefits to your wellbeing? Keesh’s personal credo is one of constant internal drive and motivation, he states that if he rises in the morning and finds himself moving sluggishly, he makes a promise to himself that he must improve on some aspect of his daily routine. Perhaps it is motivation such as this that can contribute to significant advancements in both one’s mental and physical health. So when you are through with your introspection you should be able to answer these questions, are you motivated to make changes, and if so, which theory are you representative of an intrinsic or extrinsic?! Whatever discovery you make, I do hope it is enough to inspire you to ditch the “I wish I could” mentality and breed the start of a “I’m glad I did” philosophy! 

WI Off-Spinner, Anisa Mohammed Gives Back

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WI Women off-spinner, Anisa Mohammed, gives back to her community over the Christmas period. The Trinidadian shared a bit about her challenges growing up, the support she received from her community and how it has impacted her life as a role model and international cricketer.

West Indies vs Sri Lanka – 1st ODI

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WI Women vs Sri Lanka – 2nd ODI

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Raj: Don’t compare us to male cricketers

Raj: Don’t compare us to male cricketers 150 150 CWESN

India women’s captain Mithali Raj has made it clear that female cricketers should hold their own and not be compared to their male counterparts.

On the eve of the Women’s World Cup, Raj, who was attending the opening dinner and media roundtable event, was asked who her favourite men’s cricketer was between India and Pakistan, and had a snappy response.

“Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” she said to the journalist in question. “I have always been asked who’s your favourite cricketer but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is.”

Though Raj plays for what is the most popular and well-supported cricketing nation in the world, she was equally quick to point out that the Indian women do not receive the same amount of publicity as their superstar men.

“There’s a lot of difference because we are not a regular on television. Now the BCCI has made an effort that the last two home series have been televised and social media has improved a lot of it but there is a still a lot of catch-up to do in terms of recognition,” she said.

Despite that, she conceded to needing to lean on the expertise of the men’s game, especially in the coaching department. Earlier this year, Tushar Arothe replaced Purnima Rau as the Indian women’s coach and Raj admitted the team has benefitted under his guidance.

“Men’s cricket sets the bar. We are always trying to reach where they set the standard. All of us follow men’s cricket because we want at some point that women’s cricket would be up there,” she said. “All of us at some point have been coached by a male cricketer. I strongly believe that they get a lot of intensity into the training sessions. They are very hard taskmasters.

“I believe that if you are representing your country, your country should get the best of the best. It’s nothing to do with women coaches [who] don’t have the ability, they do. but if you really want to push the team to the highest level, you need to have somebody who is a tough taskmaster so that the girls really put in the intensity in their training sessions and they carry that into the main tournaments.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

‘Aesthetics over athletics’ in women’s sport coverage

‘Aesthetics over athletics’ in women’s sport coverage 150 150 CWESN

Let’s start here at home. After Tomas Walsh won bronze in the men’s shot put, the New Zealand Herald headlined its story with “Walsh becomes first Kiwi to medal in Olympic field event”.

That’s unless you count Valerie Adams just a week ago. Or, in fact, Yvette Williams, New Zealand’s first ever woman Olympic gold medallist, and long jump world record holder from February 1954 to September 1955. Walsh is the first New Zealand man to win a medal in the Olympic field events. The Herald corrected their mistake quickly.

The Chicago Tribune has been widely criticised for a tweet, in which they referred to three-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein not by her name or her achievements, but as the “wife of a Bears’ lineman”.

View image on Twitter

The newspaper later apologised, saying Cogdell-Unrein is “awesome on her own” and that they “focused too hard on trying to emphasize the local connection [she] has to Chicago”.

The Tribune wasn’t the only one to get in trouble on Twitter. After Netherlands cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten crashed in the road race, she tweeted to say she had some injuries and fractures but would be fine. “Most of all super disappointed after best race of my career.”

In a now-deleted Tweet, “Martin A Betancourt” replied “first lesson in bicycling, keep your bike steady… whether fast or slow”. That prompted choruses of “mate, she’s an Olympic cyclist. She probably already knows”.

American swimmer Michael Phelps is retiring with 28 medals, the most decorated Olympian of all time. So he’s pretty good headline fodder. Still, you’d think Katie Ledecky – herself a five-time medallist – smashing her own record in the 800 metres freestyle could get her top billing.

View image on Twitter

Cambridge University analysed millions of words relating to men and women, and how they’re described at the Olympics.

“Language around women in sport focuses disproportionately on the appearance, clothes and personal lives of women,” they found, “highlighting a greater emphasis on aesthetics over athletics.”

It also found that the words used for men’s sport include more dominant words, like “mastermind”, “win” and “battle,” where women “strive” and “participate”.

That’s nothing on the BBC commentator who referred to a women’s judo final as a “catfight”.

(Here at RNZ, we also called a woman gymnast’s moves “sassy,” so we are not above criticism.)

The US’ Dana Vollmer won two gold medals in the pool at the Olympics – and just 17 months after giving birth to her son. The toll pregnancy and childbirth take on a woman’s body, and coming back from that to perform at the highest level, means that is a relevant thing to mention – just maybe not in every single headline. In the Sevens final, the Sky Sport commentator also referred to one of New Zealand’s players as “the only mother in the team”.

Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu broke the world record when she won the 400 metre individual medley. In a possible attempt to praise her coach and husband, Shane Tusup, NBC‘s Dan Hicks referred to him as “the man responsible” for her performance.

As South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen threw for the gold medal in the javelin (she won silver), the commentator was less interested in her performance and more on how it would make her coach feel. “She’s got a silver medal, but now he’s got a chance for gold. Now, can Viljoen take this home to South Africa? It’d make a very happy man in Terseus Liebenberg, you can be sure.”

Spare a thought for the US’ Gabby Douglas. She didn’t have a great Games, winning the gold medal in the team event, but failing to defend her 2012 all-around title. She received criticism for not placing her hand on her heart during the anthem, her hair and for failing to smile enough. She’s even been called “crabby Gabby”.

Beach volleyball has always been a controversial Olympic sport. In 2012, then-London Mayor Boris Johnson talked about “semi-naked women playing volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto… glistening like wet otters”.

At Rio, the talking point was around Egyptian athlete Doaa Elghobashy wearing a long-sleeved uniform and hijab.

The internet was quick to point out Elghobashy chooses to wear the hijab. She told AP “I have worn the hijab for 10 years… It doesn’t keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them.”

Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui has been one of the stars of Rio, thanks, in part, to her incredibly meme-worthy reaction to finding out she had won a bronze medal.

But the swimmer also won hearts when she apologised for not swimming well enough. Her reason? She had her period. “It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired.”

“Someone accused Fu of lying, asking how she could have gone in the water on her period,” the BBC reports Weibo user Dvingnew as writing. Her statement has opened a door to an important conversation.

A shout-out to Andy Murray though. The tennis player was speaking to the BBC’s John Inversdale who said, “You’re the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That’s an extraordinary feat isn’t it?”

Murray replied, “Well, to defend the singles title. I think Venus and Serena have won about four each, But haven’t defended the singles title before, so yeah, it’s obviously not an easy thing to do.”

* This story has been edited as it incorrectly suggested Beatrice Faumuina won gold in an Olympics at Athens in 1997. She did win gold at the Athletics World Championships in Athens that year.

AFLW: Media coverage of women’s competition ‘almost inconceivable’

AFLW: Media coverage of women’s competition ‘almost inconceivable’ 150 150 CWESN

Damian McIvor – http://www.abc.net.au/

The media success of the new women’s AFL competition is “almost inconceivable” and the game has broken new ground where netball and soccer could not, an expert says.

The opening round of the inaugural league attracted more than 1.7 million viewers nationally across Friday and Saturday night on free-to-air-television, while more than 50,000 fans attended the four games in Melbourne and Adelaide.

“It is really amazing,” media analyst Dr Kate Greenwood said.

“How they have used the media really intelligently to engage the audience, how they have worked with broadcasters to get it on prime time and also for the audience to watch that in record numbers.”

Dr Greenwood was the co-author of a study into the Australian media’s coverage of women’s sport in 2010. The report, Towards a level playing field: sport and gender in Australian media, was conducted on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission, and found women sport accounted for less than 10 per cent of all sports coverage across the country.

“It was a finding that I don’t think necessarily surprised everyone, but it was quite sobering,” she said.

“It was this sort of dead-lock or chicken and the egg scenario, where athletes’ profiles are simply lower, media outlets are not necessarily going to send their journalists to games if they are not sure the audience exists.”

Dr Greenwood said there had been “piece-meal” progress made by netball, soccer and other codes in recent years, but nothing like what she has witnessed with women’s AFL.

“It was almost inconceivable … getting broadcasters to take the risk to show the sport, and then of course engaging all the fans and supporters as well. This is really the dream scenario,” she said.

Build for sustainable competition, not short-term success

It is also a dream scenario for television broadcasters Seven and Foxtel, who have signed a two-year broadcast deal with the league to broadcast the games, without having to pay any rights fees.

While the early success of the competition has come as a surprise to many, those who have worked closely with the women’s code say its potential has long been evident.

“I was not surprised with what we ended up with [on the weekend],” Chyloe Kurdas, a former women’s football manager with AFL Victoria, said.

“We have always known that we were sort of sitting on a gold mine with female football, and it was just a matter of convincing everyone that they had a gold mine there waiting for them.”

Ms Kurdas is convinced the league can eventually expand to 18 teams with fully-paid professional footballers, but she said the growth needed to be managed.

“We don’t want an amazing competition for two years but we overinvest and then by year three we have run out of money,” she said.

“You want to make sure that we are building something that is sustainable and we want this to be around for 100 years.”

India look for strong ODI form

India look for strong ODI form 150 150 CWESN

India has had a strong run in One-Day Internationals and might have just qualified directly for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 had it played its three games against Pakistan in the ICC Women’s Championship and not forfeited the six points. It finished fifth on the table with 19 points and had to go through the qualifier in Sri Lanka where it went undefeated and won a thrilling final against South Africa by one wicket, off the last ball of the match, thanks to the heroics of Harmanpreet Kaur.

India will be playing under the experienced Mithali Raj who recently became the third player to lead her team in 100 ODIs.

The batting will again revolve around Raj, who is one of the most prolific run-scorers in women’s cricket and is currently ranked NO.2 in ICC rankings. Deepti Sharma has provided India with some good starts lately. With Smriti Mandhana returning from injury, and Poonam Raut and Mona Meshram doing well on their comebacks – Poonam put together a record 320-run partnership with Deepti against Ireland in the quadrangular series in South Africa – the team will have a tricky job choosing an opening pair.

Jhulan Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in ODI history, will lead the bowling attack. She will find support in Shikha Pandey with the new ball while Ekta Bisht will lead a strong spin department. They are ranked in the top 20 of ICC bowling rankings.

Jhulan Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in ODI history, will lead the bowling attack.
Jhulan Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in ODI history, will lead the bowling attack.

RECENT FORM
India comprehensively won its last four ODI series, first whitewashing Sri Lanka and the West Indies at home and then beating South Africa in the finals of qualifier as well as the quadrangular series. During this period, it won 16 out of the 17 games played.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUPS
India has featured in eight of the 10 World Cups played so far, with the first being in 1978. Its best performance came in the 2005 edition when the side led by Raj reached the final. However, unused to the pressure of the big stage, it faltered against Australia. In 2013 at home, it crashed out in the group stage, a loss to Sri Lanka hurting it badly.

STAR PLAYER
Raj, who will be playing in her record-equalling fifth World Cup, is India’s leading run-scorer in the tournament with 730 runs at an average of 60.83. This year, she has played six innings so far and has scored a half-century in each of them. In her last 15 innings, she has scored 833 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 104.12 with 10 scores of 50 or more.

Mithali Raj is India’s leading run-scorer in the tournament with 730 runs at an average of 60.83.
Mithali Raj is India’s leading run-scorer in the tournament with 730 runs at an average of 60.83.

SQUAD
Mithali Raj (capt), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Sushma Verma (wk), Mansi Joshi, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Nuzhat Parween (wk).

FIXTURES
24 June: England Women v India Women in Derby
29 June: West Indies Women v India Women in Taunton
2 July: India Women v Pakistan Women in Derby
5 July: Sri Lanka Women v India Women in Derby
8 July: South Africa Women v India Women in Leicester
12 July: Australia Women v India Women in Bristol
15 July: India Women v New Zealand Women in Derby

T20I champion West Indies faces ODI Test

T20I champion West Indies faces ODI Test 150 150 CWESN
013 runner-up will bank on the explosive talent of its batters and the all-round skills of its captain Stafanie Taylor
WI Women

The West Indies became the last team to gain direct qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 after India forfeited its three-match series against Pakistan. The Caribbean side, which won the ICC Women’s World T20 2016, finished fourth on the ICC Women’s Championship table with 11 wins in 21 games.

The 2013 runner-up will bank on the explosive talent of Stafanie Taylor, who finished as the second highest run-getter of the last edition with 314 runs, and the hard-hitting batting prowess of Deandra Dottin as it aims to replicate its T20I success in the 50-over game. The young Hayley Matthews too proved herself on the big stage in India last year.

The team is a mix of youth and experience with four rookies in Reniece Boyce, Quiana Joseph, Akeira Peters and Felicia Walters. Joseph, 16, the fast bowler from St Lucia, will be the youngest player at the 11th edition. Shanel Daley also returns to the side after being sidelined with injury for nearly three years.

The West Indies’ record in England, however, is not impressive. It has won just three of the 11 ODIs played in England so far since 1979. It will hope its long acclimatisation camp will help it go well prepared into the tournament.

West Indies' best performance came in the 2013 edition, where they reaches the finals for the first time in the history of the tournament.
West Indies’ best performance came in the 2013 edition, where they reaches the finals for the first time in the history of the tournament.

RECENT FORM:
The West Indies has not played any international cricket since its tour of India in November last year. It lost the ODI series 0-3, secured a 3-0 win in the T20I series. Since then, it has taken part in a five-day camp in Barbados, followed by three weeks of training and a couple of unofficial practice matches in England.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUPS:
The West Indies have featured in five World Cup campaigns so far: 1993, 1997, 2004, 2009 and 2013. Its best performance came in the 2013 edition, where it won four matches. It first lost against India by 105 runs, then bounced back in the second game by defeating Sri Lanka by 209 runs and losing the third game to England by six wickets in the group stage. In the Super Six stage, it beat both New Zealand and Australia to finish first. It was the first time it reached the final in the history of the tournament but lost to Australia by 114 runs.

Stafanie Taylor is currently ranked No. 1 in ICC Women's All-rounder Rankings, both in ODIs and T20Is.
Stafanie Taylor is currently ranked No. 1 in ICC Women’s All-rounder Rankings, both in ODIs and T20Is.

STAR PLAYER:
Having appeared in 98 ODIs with 3732 runs at an average of 44.42 and 114 wickets, Stafanie Taylor, the captain of West Indies, is currently ranked No. 1 in ICC Women’s All-rounder Rankings, both in ODIs and T20Is. She is also ranked No. 5 in ICC Women’s Batting Rankings and No.2 in ICC’s Women’s Bowling Rankings in the 50-over format. She was her side’s star performer in the Women’s Championship, scoring 857 runs and picking up 16 wickets. This edition of the World Cup will be her first as captain.

SQUAD:
Stafanie Taylor (capt), Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman, Felicia Walters.

FIXTURES:
26 June: Australia Women v West Indies Women in Taunton
29 June: West Indies Women v India Women in Taunton
2 July: South Africa Women v West Indies Women in Leicester
6 July: New Zealand Women v West Indies Women in Taunton
9 July: West Indies Women v Sri Lanka Women in Derby
11 July: West Indies Women v Pakistan Women in Leicester
15 July: England Women v West Indies Women in Bristol

Unprecedented broadcast coverage of Women’s World Cup marks turning point for the game

Unprecedented broadcast coverage of Women’s World Cup marks turning point for the game 150 150 CWESN
Live coverage will be available in 139 countries on television and almost 200 territories online

The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 will see unprecedented broadcast coverage as the International Cricket Council today announces the 31 match television and online schedule.

The ICC’s commitment to accelerating the growth of the game will, for the first time see every match of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 broadcast live around the world. The event will be available live in 139 countries on television and close to 200 territories via digital platforms marking a turning point in the history of the women’s game.

The coverage, produced by ICC TV, will see Spidercam used for the first time ever at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the final on July 23. In addition to the Spidercam and a drone for the final, there will be 30 other cameras covering the final and 9 other matches, including 8 Hawk-Eye ultramotion cameras. A world class commentary panel and a new graphics look will form part of the unique and innovative coverage.
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards will be a new star addition to the commentary panel. The stellar line-up also includes Women’s World Cup winners Lisa Sthalekar and Melanie Jones, former India captain Anjum Chopra, alongside Ian Bishop, Sanjay Manjrekar and Simon Doull and experienced broadcasters Alan Wilkins and Alison Mitchell.

ICC’s global media rights partner, Star Sports and its licensee broadcasters are providing unprecedented reach to the pinnacle women’s cricket event. In India, all India matches, other key matches and the semi-finals and the final will be shown live on Star Sports, whilst Hotstar will provide live access to all 31 matches.

In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports will show 14 matches, including all England matches on Sky Sports 1 or 2 and Sky Sports Mix whilst all the matches will be available on Sky’s digital platforms as well.
Matches from the Women’s World Cup will also be shown in Australia by Fox Sports and Channel Nine, in New Zealand by Sky TV, in the Middle East and North Africa by OSN, in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by Supersport, in South East Asia and China by Fox Network, in the sub-continent (excluding Pakistan) on Star Sports, in Pakistan on PTV and TEN Sports, in Sri Lanka on Channel Eye and in the USA on Willow TV. The coverage will be provided on linear and digital channels.

A full list of broadcasters can be found here.

Aarti Singh Dabas, Head of Media Rights, Broadcast and Digital said: “This is the first time in the history of the women’s game we will be producing live coverage of all ICC Women’s World Cup fixtures. The ICC is committed to the growth of women’s cricket and the extensive coverage for viewers over the tournament is testament to that.

“This is a huge turning point and we are very excited to see the impact it can have on the sport as part of ICC’s overall strategic objective to grow women’s cricket. What has been impressive is the way broadcasters around the world, led by our global partner Star and local licensee Sky, have committed to coverage and growing the audience.”

Fixtures

*Saturday, 24 June – England v India, Derbyshire

Saturday, 24 June – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bristol

Sunday, 25 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Leicester

Monday, 26 June – Australia v West Indies, Somerset

Tuesday, 27 June – England v Pakistan, Leicester

*Wednesday, 28 June – South Africa v New Zealand, Derby

Thursday, 29 June – West Indies v India, Somerset

Thursday, 29 June – Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol

Sunday, 2 July – England v Sri Lanka, Somerset

Sunday, 2 July – Australia v New Zealand, Bristol

*Sunday, 2 July – India v Pakistan, Derbyshire

Sunday, 2 July – South Africa v West Indies, Leicester.

Wednesday, 5 July – England v South Africa, Bristol

*Wednesday, 5 July – Sri Lanka v India, Derby

Wednesday, 5 July – Pakistan v Australia, Leicester

Thursday, 6 July – New Zealand v West Indies, Somerset

Saturday, 8 July – New Zealand v Pakistan, Somerset

Saturday, 8 July – South Africa v India, Leicester

*Sunday, 9 July – England v Australia, Bristol

Sunday, 9 July – West Indies v Sri Lanka, Derby

Tuesday, 11 July – West Indies v Pakistan, Leicester

Wednesday, 12 July – Sri Lanka v South Africa, Somerset.

*Wednesday, 12 July – Australia v India, Bristol

Wednesday, 12 July – England v New Zealand, Derby

Saturday, 15 July – South Africa v Australia, Somerset

*Saturday, 15 July – England v West Indies, Bristol

Saturday, 15 July – India v New Zealand, Derby

Saturday, 15 July – Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Leicester

*Tuesday, 18 July- Semi Final 1

*Wednesday, 19 July- Semi Final 1 (Reserve Day)

Thursday, 20 July – Semi Final 2

*Friday, 21 July- Semi Final 2 (Reserve Day)

*Sunday, 23 July – Final

*Monday, 24 July – Final (Reserve Day)

*Denotes full specification broadcast match

Australia drop ‘Southern Stars’ tag for women’s team

Australia drop ‘Southern Stars’ tag for women’s team 150 150 CWESN

Cricinfo.com

What’s in a name? Quite a lot when you’re striving for equality.

The Australia women’s team will no longer be officially known as the Southern Stars and will instead be referred to as the Australian women’s cricket team in Cricket Australia communication henceforth, the board announced in a symbolic move towards gender neutrality alongside the men’s team.

CA announced the decision at its weekend function in honour of the winning teams at the 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005 and 2013 women’s World Cups, in Brisbane, on Saturday night, after members of the national team had wondered for some years why they needed a nickname.

Unlike national sides in other sports, the Australian men’s team, which played and toured for 24 years prior to Federation in 1901, has never needed to be referred to by any label other than “Australia” or “the Australians”. CA chairman David Peever said the announcement places the women on equal footing.

“This move may appear symbolic, but it does carry considerable weight,” he said. “Cricket cannot hope to be a sport for all Australians if it does not recognise the power of words, and the respect for women that sits behind such decisions.

“As we saw on Saturday night, Australia’s female cricketers are among the very best sportspeople this country has ever produced. Australia has captured six of the ten World Cup titles, winning more than 87 percent of the matches it has contested, an astonishing figure. Today’s team is ranked number one in the world across all three formats of the game.

“We are not dropping the ‘Southern Stars’, a wonderful brand that our cricketers have created and which will remain as an alternative name for the team, but the new naming convention demonstrates that Cricket Australia is looking at all the ways in which it operates to ensure we can meet the ambition of being a sport for all.”

While players have raised the question of the team’s name at various points in the past, Peever said it was the words of the prominent businesswoman Ann Sherry at last year’s Australian Cricket Conference that made board directors and management think about it more closely.

“Ann rightly questioned,” he said, “whether we were walking the talk, whether we understood what it takes to be truly gender neutral, and a sport that is welcoming to women.”

The team, captained by Meg Lanning, will depart for England on Friday for this year’s 50-over global tournament. They are scheduled to play a warm-up match against South Africa at Oakham on June 20, before their tournament opener gets underway against West Indies on June 26 in Taunton.

When will the media meet the challenge of giving proper coverage to women’s sport?

When will the media meet the challenge of giving proper coverage to women’s sport? 150 150 CWESN

Tracey Holmes – http://www.abc.net.au/

Following a day when there was more coverage of a stomach ache suffered by one male commentator of one male sport than there was for the entire gamut of women’s sports being played at the moment, a very serious question remains unanswered.

Why, on the eve of 2017, is the media still failing to report women’s sport adequately while Mark Nicholas’ abdominal distress is national news?

Having covered sport for more than 20 years with NewsCorp Julie Tullberg now teaches digital journalism at Monash University.

“Yeah it’s pretty funny, I covered AFL many years ago for the Australian and I’ve been unwell but when I left the coverage no-one could be bothered writing about what I went through — if I was pregnant, or whatever — but with men, for someone live on air for a big event like a Test match, that’s newsworthy because they have such a large audience,” Tullberg told ABC NewsRadio.

Turn on the radio, television, or go online during the ‘summer of sport’ and there are updates galore on cricket, basketball and football (the round-ball variety).

But you would be excused for thinking only men play these games despite the fact there are concurrent women’s domestic competitions being played at the moment.

In a country where there are four times as many journalists accredited to cover the AFL than federal politics you would be right to suggest sport is a key component of the national culture.

The past 18 months or so in Australia have been record breaking for women’s sport … new competitions, new pay deals and a new level of respect from sports bodies themselves.

Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t seem to extend to day-to-day mainstream media coverage.

Still.

Not even the national broadcaster, with a charter that specifically mentions ‘national identity’ and ‘cultural diversity’, offers a fair balance of coverage between men’s and women’s sport.

“Yeah it’s a big question … its something that we’ve been addressing for many, many years,” Tullberg said.

“I went before a senate enquiry 10 years ago and we still haven’t seen significant changes or a boost in the coverage of women’s sport, and I really believe it’s hard to change that culture of a domination of men’s sport in our country.

“And when we have so many men who call the shots in the newsroom we’re still seeing these patterns of dominance and I really believe commercial deals and media partnerships with sporting groups influence the level of coverage we’re still seeing for men.”

Sports championing change better than media

While the media remains unable at best, unwilling at worst, to meet the challenge of covering women’s sport, the sports organisations themselves are meeting the issue head on.

Chief executives like Gillon McLachlan, at the AFL, and Richmond’s Brendon Gale are members of the Elite Sport Male Champions of Change.

They are part of a select group, which has at least turned the corner.

“What I’ve noticed recently is there have been improvements in press coverage for women’s AFL in the Herald Sun and the Age in Melbourne,” Tullberg said.

“And there’s more people being employed to cover the game in Victoria which is great, some of our graduates are now in those positions which is tremendous.”

Any criticism highlighting this sort of media disparity attracts the usual responses — something along the tired old line that nobody is interested in women’s sport.

It is the ‘chicken or the egg’ conundrum: what comes first, interest in the product or promotion of the product that creates the interest?

“I know for a fact when I drove sports coverage for netball at the Sunday Herald Sun many years ago it really boosted participation,” Tullberg said.

“I had a whole page every week and we worked with a sponsor to help promote that partnership and it did drive the audience, it had a great response.”

So what would be the response if a particular media organisation took the lead and reported women’s sport as a top agenda item rather than an afterthought at the end of men’s sports coverage?

“Well it has happened before when Louise Evans [former sports editor] was at the Australian,” Tullberg said.

“She was a fantastic driver and promoter of women’s sport and addressed the issues very carefully.

“However, apart from Chloe Saltau at The Age, there are male sports editors around the country … I think it has to be driven from the editor and if the editor is sympathetic to the need for women to be in the media and have the issues presented regularly that is really important.”

It is a challenge the newly re-branded national broadcaster is charter-bound to take the lead on.

Media Coverage of Women’s Sports Is Important

Media Coverage of Women’s Sports Is Important 150 150 CWESN

By Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D., President, Sports Management Resources

The media shapes the public’s perceptions of the accomplishments of women playing sports and whether women in general can be strong, confident and highly skilled. The media also shapes the dreams and aspirations of girls. Boys grow up watching television, bombarded by heroic and confident images of themselves playing sports and being revered for their accomplishments. They know they are expected to play sports and are encouraged to do so by everyone around them.Girls do not receive these messages.

Television carriage is also a critical ingredient for the success of professional women’s sports and competitive professional sport salaries and purses. If women’s pro sports cannot tap into big advertising dollars, athlete salaries and purses will continue to be depressed and the financial success of women’s pro leagues and tours will be more difficult to achieve.

Currently, television coverage of women’s sports is inconsistent at best and non-existent most of the time. While the exposure of female athletes improves during the Olympic Games and World Cup soccer where they demonstrate ratings successes, these are only quadrennial occurrences.And while ESPN does a great job during the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four, at other times of the year, girls receive negative or inconsistent messages from sports television. Televised WNBA games are played during a shortened summer season by players making 10-20 times less than their male counterparts. At best, women professional athletes make half as much as male athletes (in tennis), no matter how good they are, and the media continually reinforces these differences.

Girls also see a double standard in covering women’s sports. When male athletes receive media attention, such coverage is primarily focused on their skilled performance. When female athletes receive media attention, the media is much more likely to focus on their physical attractiveness or non-sport-related activities. Anna Kournikova, who has yet to win a professional tennis tournament, was one of only six women ranked among the most important people in sports. This double standard devalues the athletic achievements of female athletes compared to their male counterparts.

Implications for Sports Managers:

  • Commitment to Non-Sexist Communications.  A great resource for both sport managers and the sports media is Images and Words, a position paper published by the Women’s Sports Foundation. This should be a resource used by every sports information director, communications officer and sports writer who is committed to non-sexist publications and writing.
  • TV Contract Negotiations.  Exposure of all men’s and women’s sports programs should be a goal, even if the carrier or third party broker is only interested in the most popular sport program.  TV carriage of events represents free advertising for the university and the athletics program.  When so-called “minor” sports are covered, this sport promotion is an investment in developing the value of other sports in the athletics department portfolio.
  • Coaches Shows.  Encourage coaches with TV or radio shows to “share the wealth” by commenting regularly on other teams, including women’s sports.
  • Publications.  The communications director needs to play careful attention to photos and words in all organization communications.  Sexist language and image stereotyping is never intentional but a reflection of culturally ingrained habits.
  • Media Cultivation.  The issue of increased exposure for women’s sports is a great conversation between the athletics director and the sports editor or reporters.  Remember that newspaper circulation is declining and the sports pages represent an important circulation anchor.  Covering all high school boys’ and girls’ sports teams in the community has been a key strategy for local papers.  Parents buy newspapers.  Research also shows that what gets into a newspaper has little to do with “public interest” and is more about what interests the sports editor.
  • Media Training.  All athletes and coaches should be media trained with regard to sexist language and proper professional dress.
  • Public Interest Stories.  All print and electronic media are interested in public interest stories.  Sports information and communications directors should constantly remind coaches to share story angles about student-athletes.

http://www.sportsmanagementresources.com/