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The Vicious Cycle Women in Sports are stuck in. NO Media Coverage - NO Sponsorship. NO Sponsorship -

The recent success of both England's Women rugby and football has shined a light on the talent we have in the UK. The top women are giving it their all and representing our country at the highest level, but where’s the publicity? Where’s the sponsorship? Why are we not hearing about their success? Why’s it only briefly mentioned in the news? Women are 52% of the population and this needs to be reflected in the media coverage of sports.

I’m tired of how slowly change is happening, with the government and the media expecting women to be happy with the small amount of funding and the small amount of coverage they give to women in sports.

Lets take the media for example - pick up the paper today, any newspaper that comes to hand and turn to the back pages. My guess is every single page will be filled with the mens sports and what the men have being doing and achieving. Don’t get me wrong, that needs to be covered, but every single page is dominated by the men.

I’m also going to take a wild guess and say its a male editor in charge of the sports section and a male editor in charge of the whole paper. But what about what the women are achieving in, I don’t know…. boxing, rugby, football, judo, rowing, lacrosse, netball etc. Any mentions? Any coverage? Where’s the media support?

This is how I believe it’s all inter-linked. By the media not covering women sports in any great depth, there’s a lack of exposure and awareness about what the women in this country are achieving. Companies don’t get to see what the women are doing and this then feeds into the lack of sponsorship and so on and so forth.

But do you know what the worst result is, women and girls are growing up having a complete lack of female role models in the sporting world. It’s a miracle any girl now leaves school and wants to continue to play sports and god forbid want to take it to the next level. Where if she becomes a professional, she’ll struggle to get funding or sponsorship. It’s challenge after challenge, and as well as doing all her training, probably holding down a full time job at the same time to support herself, she may even be having to look after her family as well. On top of that she has to be the one to beg for sponsorship or to beg for funding and I do mean beg. You have to go cap in hand door to door, trying to get enough money to fund your training, your equipment, and going to your next tournament.

Yes there are some “lucky women” out their who do have funding and support from a company and this is fantastic, but what about all the others?

The media are not doing enough, companies are not doing enough and the government will always need to do more.

The men who are in charge, and it is the men in charge, need to take a good long hard look at what they’re doing or not doing as the case may be. Do they have real diversity and equality in their company or organisation?

Something needs to change not just for the benefit of women and girls, but for the benefit of the whole of society which includes men as well. Women are your mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, aunts, nieces, colleagues and friends - why are they still not being supporting when it comes to sports?

At the moment if we look at the ratio of men to women in government, in large corporations, in media outlets - the majority are run by men, there’s no argument with that.

There are more men at all levels of the decision making process and these men are all carbon copies of each other. White, male, in their forties, probably wearing a pink, white or blue shirt. May have been privately educated, almost certainly all went to university and they’re the ones making ALL the decisions.

As I’ve said before, I believe it’s all inter -linked if we had more women in positions of power, more women in the government, more women on boards, more women at every level of the decision making process, and more women who actually have real power to make changes, these changes would come around far more quickly.

This is my opinion and I do feel strongly about it. I was almost about to apologise for the strength of my feelings on this matter, as I don’t want to offend people or to rock the boat.

I’m looking for sponsorship at the moment, and will be having to go cap in hand to beg for money from these same organisations. But what I’ve learnt recently is, it’s time to stop caring what people think about you. It’s time to be open and honest about what the situations is, and in my opinion the situation is this…..

Companies are justing ticking diversity and equality boxes, and don’t actually want to make real change. They’re happy having all male boards of directors, all men in charge, and promoting more men over women and paying men more for doing the same work as women. They’re happy because they all belong to the same club, they keep it in the family as such.

I think the men in charge assume this equality “trend” will all go away eventually and women will stop complaining and be good little girls and get back to the kitchen and be happy with the diversity schemes they roll out every year and the fact they support International Women Day and put on a nice event and do a little bit of publicity around it. Just so they can show people, “see look at us, we really do care about women who work for us”. We don’t want to pay them the same amount as men of course, and we don’t want to promote them or give them any real power to make changes in the business. We’ll do just enough to get away with it and to show them that yes we do support women and then we can look all offended when women speak up and say. Its not fair, why am I paid less then my male peers? Why are less women promoted and why is their only one women on the majority of boards - generally in HR as well. They can then turn around and say - well yes, but we’ve done X, Y and Z and you should all be happy with that.

Well I’m not happy.

No more talk, no more platitudes, no more half hearted schemes.

Take action and start making real change and progress in your business.

As everyone who knows in sports it's not what you say before a match that wins the game, it’s what you do when you’re on the pitch and when push comes to shove. Actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words and its time to get off the bench and get involved in the game.

What contribution are you going to make to change this?

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