Media and Sports Inequity

Sharon Hushka (
12/25/98 12:12 AM

December 23, 1998's sport news headlines announce the filing of Chapter
11 bankruptcy protection for the Women's American Basketball League. One
reason, according to co-founder Gary Cavalli, is the refusal of TV
networks to provide air time even though millions of dollars were
offered. (

When does inequity and discrimination become acceptable? In school, our
girls still do not have the same facilities, schedules, publicity, and
support that boys do.
(Women Still on the Sidelines
Title IX Informational Points

By the time, men are professional athletes, they are paid millions each
year to play. (former Dodger catcher's $91 million contract; Michael
Jordan's multimillion dollar contract, etc.)

I know that capitalism is at work, the supply-and-demand mantra, but
when does the gynder-based segregation become illegal? How can the media
be allowed to continue to be so lopsided in its inadequate, limited
coverage of womyn athletes and events, whereas men's athletic feats
consume the sports sections in all media forms.

Title IX is suppose to address the inequities in our federally funded
institutions, and there is progress, but the private sector is still a
male domained haven. Equity in the classroom is important. Equity on the
playground, the court, the field, and the stadium are also important
areas to address.

For more information, check out the following:
Gender Equity in Sports
Equity in Athletics
Exploding the Myths

Women Athletes Upset Over Lack of Media Coverage

     Women athletes in the United States feel cheated by the lack of
media coverage on women in sports, according to a survey conducted by
the non-profit group Women, Men, and the Media, chaired by Betty
     Over half of the 130 women athletes surveyed were dissatisfied with
the amount and quality of coverage their teams and sport received, as
well as women's sports in general. Fifty-three percent said they would
like more individual coverage as well.
     Interviews were conducted on athletes from 14 different sports.
Skaters proved most satisfied with the amount of personal coverage they
received, while soccer players were the most unhappy.
     When it came to the focus of news stories, however, even skaters
were critical of journalists. One skater commented in an interview that
the sports sections of newspapers contained stories focused on "300
pound, overweight football players who are violent and aggressive, but
covered as if they are the epitome of athleticism.
     Meanwhile we have to look in the Style section of the newspaper for
stories about us."
     The women athletes interviewed felt strongly that when competing in
the same sports as men, women receive much less coverage than men.
     "Female athletes continue to be heavily underrepresented in print
and broadcast media," stated the group's report.
     "This differential sends the message to female athletes and to
girls and women generally that their accomplishments and achievements
are not important."
     Criticism from the women athletes was also directed toward the
reporters covering them. They contended that reporters were often
unfamiliar with their sport, uncomfortable with them, or dismissive of
their accomplishments.
     Many also believed women who participated in individual events
gained more coverage than women in teams.
     The report also cited a 1995 statistic which identified that 95
percent of air time from two national cable sports news shows contained
stories about men, leaving 5 percent of its air time for women's sports
     The fact that men dominate the field of sports journalism was noted
as one of the primary reasons for the lack of coverage of female sports.
"The behind the scenes decisions on what will air or what will make the
front of the sports section is still largely the province of men," the
report stated.
Source: - November 17, 1998]

Sharyn Hushka

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