BBC and Women In Sport

Women footballers 1914 from Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk

The BBC had an interesting radio debate recently about the fact that women in sport routinely get less prize money. In fact, 30% of sports pay less, which doesn’t sound much but the disparity is huge.

This provoked the inevitable, but women aren’t as interesting to watch, don’t play as long etc responses. I tweeted out that maybe if women’s sports had as much money pumped into as men’s we might hold a different view. We’ve been brainwashed by the massive overload of men’s sports on TV and the prominence and importance given to it.

I had the following response from the BBC’s Laura Rawlings and thought you might like to see it (I’ve put three tweets into one):

@laurarawlings @JaneCWoods

Key debate. What msg does lower prize money/pay send out? Women are more than 1/2 the pop – can’t write them & endeavours off.

Ironic thing about #football is that in early 1900s women’s teams played to capacity crowds & got similar gate receipts to men’s

played to crowds of 53k! Until 1921 when FA banned ladies football – changed course of game. Lasted 50yrs. #equalprizemoney

Try this exercise for a week: take any national newspaper and flip though checking out the sports pages. How much attention is given to women’s sports. Is it roughly 50/50? If it is, you are living in a very enlightened country and should feel proud.

RenewYou, for women everywhere.

If you’d like to join in the debate on twitter I’m @janecwoods

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Posted on November 6th, 2014 by

6 Responses to “BBC and Women In Sport”

  1. Interesting fact about women playing to capacity crowds in the early 1900s. I had no idea women’s football was banned by the FA in 1921. Sometimes feels like we are going backwards…

  2. Jane says:

    Wondered what had prompted my boyfriend bringing this up recently. He started out arguing that it was because watching men play sports is more interesting / better so more money from spectators etc to pay bigger prizes but having followed your blog managed to challenge this bias and we eventually agreed that this was twaddle. So thankyou for giving me more tools to challenge sexism / unconcious bias.

  3. Inge says:

    Great discussion. I am wondering why there’s so much attention and money for the men, where it seemed to have been both men and women in the past.

    You would think there are plenty of advertising opportunities around women’s sports as well. It may be women don’t watch much sports, so advertising to women wouldn’t be very lucrative. Advertising to men may not be lucrative as well as men may prefer to watch other men play, as they can relate to that and remember their own football/rugby/tennis/golf years.

    There’s a lot of money spent on women’s health, looks and fashion and plenty of media attention for that, as it seems to be what women watch and buy.

    Money tends to go where the profits are (or where people think they are). Looking at the growing popularity of e.g. beach ball it may be changing.

    • Jane says:

      Beach ball, (sigh), where they made the women wear bikinis not shorts and t shirts in the Olympics….I think we know what interests the money men. ;>) We do now have women commentating on sport, and some brilliant role models following the Olympics, so here’s hoping! Thanks, Inge.

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