There is a great gender gap in media coverage, pay, and general recognition of competence between men and women in sports industry. A BBC Sport study into prize money found 30% of sports reward men more highly than women. The biggest disparities in prize money are in football, cricket, golf, darts, snooker and squash. Out of 35 sports that pay prize money, 25 pay equally and 10 do not. When the men and women’s teams of Arsenal both won the FA Cup last year, the women were paid £5,000 as a team and the men received £1.8m.
Those women who are successful in sports are characterized as masculine until they prove otherwise. And they tend to do it in a completely wrong way.
The female fight is bigger than the sport itself
For example, KHL Grič – Women’s ice hockey club in Zagreb, issued a sexy calendar in 2014. They wanted to raise money to go to Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Iceland. KHL Grič has been at the very top of the Austrian league for the second year in a row, but the general public heard of them only after the calendar has been issued. And still… many just want to see them, not how they play…
Was this calendar, and the money raised to go to Iceland, worth stereotyping women a bit more? Not for me to judge, but looking at their Facebook (1.701 likes) and Twitter site (only 133 Twitter followers ) the answer is – NO. ( I’m not even going to mention the empty bleachers)
Women must be a part of the change they want to see
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it it must be a duck. If you present yourself to the public in a certain way over and over again, it is hard to expect they will ever perceive you any differently. That can be both good and bad; so if your goal is to be a feminine basketball/football/hockey player then you need to stick to the story. Be who you are and you will get recognized and appreciated.
You can’t just jump back and forth as you please; be a strong athlete who doesn’t like pink when you want to attract the media or sponsors, and then act completely different when you decide you want something else (more). Unfortunately, it is easier for men then woman. Get used to it, and work on your success story. Be loud so you can be heard not only through speakers, but through social networks.
Michelle Janneke does a pretty good job there. This Australian hurdler and model, won a silver medal for the 100 m hurdles at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, but received worldwide media attention in 2012 for her pre-race warm-up dancing.
This may not have been done on purpose, but everything following that event was. The video went viral, received 19 million views by the following week and was featured on The Tonight Show. True, she was one of the athletes in the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but she is not focusing only on her good looks. In 2014 she was a star in the Top Gear Sydney Festival, racing a Nissan GTR! You go girl!
Nomen est omen, women
Team names (“Lady Tigers, Lady Divas”) are an example of gender marking that has been criticized by sociologists as “contributing to the maintenance of male dominance by defining women athletes and women’s athletic programs as second class and trivial”. Some advise the teams to take names like Strong Panthers, Raging Pumas… There is a HE in every SHE, but the strenght starts with an S. Be a Superwoman without taking your clothes or make up of. Be what you are, but be consistent.
The television programs don’t cover women’s sports as much as men’s
This is a fact. As some researches show, the television sports news does focus regularly on women, but rarely on female athletes. More common they show women as comical targets of the newscasters’ jokes or as sexual objects – for example female spectators in bikinis, or hostesses at F1 racing. I found an interesting research regarding Women’s and Men’s Basketball, and it is proven that the quality of production, camera work, editing and sound in men’s basketball were superior to that of women’s games. Slow-motion instant replays were utilized more often in men’s basketball games than in women’s.
So, use social networks! Tell your story the way you want it and in a way anyone can hear you. Don’t forget – users across all age groups spend an average of 42.1 minutes per day on Facebook, with 18-29 year-olds dedicating 51 minutes of their time to this platform. Tumblr finished second in this survey, with 34.2 minutes, ahead of Instagram (21.2 minutes) and Pinterest (20.8 minutes). Twitter narrowly beat Snapchat for fifth place (17 minutes).
Start with realistic expectations – social media won’t do anything for you overnight , take one step at a time.
If you’re just getting started, do your homework – define what it is you want to accomplish and who you want to connect with.
Haters are good, if you dose them right – If the social media followers are unhappy, there is a good chance you’re doing something right. Social media bullies have short attention spans. If you don’t do something wrong, you won’t know what is right.