Given our findings over the last few weeks, going into this weekend’s media roundup expectations were not high. In a relatively low-profile week for women’s sport (not to mention a week in which football has taken a deserved battering over racism, scheduling and pitch assaults), it was with some trepidation that I ventured out to the shops to purchase this week’s selection of tabloids, broadsheets and the curious ones that try to fit in between. Tabsheets. Broadloids. Let’s see what we get.
Sports Pages: 10 + 28 pg Goals + Supplement
Women’s Sport: Nothing
Look, things haven’t been good in News International’s Sunday populist beast from a women in sport perspective and, to tell the truth, if anything else had been available by the time I got to Sainsbury’s this afternoon this probably wouldn’t have even got a mention. There wasn’t, though, so I did my part to line Rupert Murdoch’s pockets to the tune of 50p and ventured in to see what could be found.
Imagine the surprise realisation, then, that things had actually gotten worse. Women’s sport is given exactly no coverage in the paper at all. None. Think about that for just a second: half the world’s potential sporting population completely disregarded by one of the country’s highest circulation publications. Shameful.
There is a puzzle pull out in the middle of the Goals+ Supplement, though, which is nice. Except it’s not, because it’s insultingly awful. Hands up if you’re surprised.
Sports Pages: 14 + 20 pg Football Supplement
Women’s Sport: 2 Lines and one insulting letter
Again, The Sunday Mirror doesn’t exactly conjure a wealth of expectation when looking for mention of women’s sport, but surely it couldn’t be worse than The Sun. Surely.
At least it gets a mention, but that’s where the positive sentiment ends and it’s always a welcome point to see the WTA Kremlin Cup results buried away in the bottom end of page 53 (ahem), but my heart sank when reaching the last entry in this week’s letters column with a submission from ‘John McKeefry, Leeds’. It’s short, so I’m going to replicate it in full:
“Am I alone in thinking that women’s boxing is just utterly wrong?”
Iain Campbell says: Hard to say without a survey….
How utterly, disgracefully, painfully patronising. Irrespective of views on boxing, that the sport should be inappropriate for women whilst being perfectly fine for the male population is a pathetically outdated viewpoint and, frankly, shame on the Sunday Mirror for giving it the space to breathe. Did we learn nothing from London 2012? What a disgrace.
The Sunday Telegraph
Sports Pages: 13 Page supplement
Women in Sport: Women play sport now?
In the pages of this firmly established broadsheet, we’ve grown used to seeing women’s sport acknowledged in only the most cursory sense. And this week it really is the most cursory of all mentions with the only indication that women play sport coming in the listing of some hockey and triathlon results on the penultimate pages of the pull out section. What else is there to say? Apparently nothing, going by The Sunday Telegraph. Bloody hell.
The Independent on Sunday
Sports Pages: 24 Page supplement
Women in Sport: Half a sidebar
Okay, this really isn’t great, but frankly it’s looking like (almost) the best of a bad bunch this week as Paula Radcliffe and those effected by the Lottery Funding decisions from last week get a decent analytical piece from Alan Hubbard. Look, it’s not technically focussed on women in sport, but it does make a solid point about forthcoming (and frankly immensely troubling) cuts to sports funding bodies which will inevitably impact some of our less marketable elite sportswomen. Short, but well worth a read. Of even greater surprise, there’s a solid paragraph on the Kremlin Cup in the paper’s ‘In Brief’ section which details Sam Stosur’s victory over Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki’s own defeat of Sofia Arvidsson in…well, in brief as the name would suggest. But if it’s a brief reminder that women play sport too, it’s no less timely for it.
Sports Pages: 18
Women in Sport: Page and a half-ish
So once again it’s up to The Observer to come galloping in on (in my father’s words) its leftie white stead to claim the day as champion of women’s sports, which, with just a page and a half of features is certainly saying something about female sport in the media. First up is a full proper report at the bottom of page 4 of the England vs France in Paris last night, a game that was televised on BBC 3 and highlighted to the UK some of the best and worst playing England lionesses had to offer. And completely off track, but if England are the Lionessess are France the French Hens?
The Observer has also dedicated half a page to an interview with Heather Watson off the back of her Japan Open WTA win last week. Heather talks determination, grit and drive, the decision to leave home at 12 years old to train in Florida and the moment it dawned on her that all rival players are human and can be beaten. She also admits she was pretty annoyed at not being picked for the Olympics, however she also makes sure to rule out any rivalry between herself and team mate Laura Robson. It’s a great insight into the serious mindset of a player, who, along with Robson have suddenly found themselves fantastic role models and idols for a new generation of tennis playing young girls in the UK.
One of my favourite things in the Observer is the ‘After the Games’ section where we get the low down on the movers and shakers of London 2012 and what they’re currently achieving. There’s the Diamond Jubilee Rowing Championships at Eton Dorney where many of the all-powerful Team GB women rowers will be taking to the water to compete, a quick round up of Pendels ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ endeavours as well as the news that Jennis (Jessica Ennis) will be turning on the Christmas Lights in Meadowhall, Sheffield.
Finally, ROMANTIC STORY OF THE WEEK. Titled ‘Happy Anniversary Mrs Badger, we’re refereeing an international today’ this is the romantic tale of Mr and Mrs Badger spending their second wedding anniversary refereeing a rugby league international match between Thailand and the Philippines today. Sadly they aren’t actual badgers, but Kasey Badger (a human) is already the most successful female official in Australian rugby league history and along with her husband Gavin (a human and one of the leading officials in National Rugby League in Australia) will referee the match that operates a two – ref system. Sigh and they say romance is dead.
CS and FQ