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That was Women’s Sport Week, that was


women's sport week 2015; #wsw2015, women in sport, coverage, mediaContemplating #WSW2015 and how far it registered on the public consciousness.

I spent the week of 1-7 June – Women’s Sport Week – in a sporting frenzy.

My Twitter feed was humming and email aglow. I was surrounded by inspiring stories of women in sport participating, administrating, officiating or just watching other women do their thing.

I tried to do my bit and wrote five articles for Women’s Views on News and blogged about it on my website.

But now I can’t get away from the nagging thought that all of the fantastic stuff flying around was just preaching to the converted.

Everyone I saw tweeting and writing about Women’s Sport Week – #WSW2015 – was already involved in women’s sport. All well and good – part of the exercise was to promote women’s sport, and who better to do this than those on the inside?

I spoke to Women in Sport, and they informed me that they did not set any targets for the week, but just wanted to “create the case for continuation of Women’s Sport Weeks in future years”.

So I would like to see more testimonials from those outside the women’s sports bubble as to how (or if) it affected them.

I did a straw poll at my gym (for women only and therefore an ideal place, I thought) and not one person had heard of it – not even the instructors.

I asked my husband what he had seen and he listed items on the BBC website and the Guardian, and me! Of course, he is in the “bubble” too so this isn’t too much of surprise.

I asked a couple of male friends and they had no idea about it either, but at least one said he had learnt about it from my articles and so had checked it out elsewhere, which was heartening.

So am I right to be sceptical? Yes and no.

Every person who contributed to, read about or watched items about women’s Sport Week will remember it. They will remember the effort that went into getting the word out there. And hopefully they will be inspired to contribute more.  Or attend an event.  Or write about it.  Or join a club.

But it is the ones who were not interested before and still aren’t that we should be looking to reach.

I want to hear from a woman who has watched a game at the Women’s World Cup for the first time; I want to know what she thought of it.

But it’s not just women.

I want to hear from a man who has watched a game for the first time. I want to know what he thought about it.

For it is only by reaching those outside the bubble that women’s sport will eventually make strides towards equality with men’s.

And then of course “equality” brings the debate around to the thorny issues of media coverage and sponsorship.

I have talked on this platform several times before about the frustrating cycle: no coverage means no audience means no sponsorship means no coverage, etc.

Broadcasters and print media talk a good game. In fact they are talking about it more than ever before. And in many ways women’s sport is the hot sporting topic of the day.

Undoubtedly they are full of good intentions, but how far do they actually make good on the talk?

Unfortunately, as far as I can see, not very far.

Broadcasters BBC, Sky and BT are making progress with some excellent results, but the print media is lagging way way behind.

This may be indicative of the wider demise of print media, or it may not; it may be that they’re just not interested.

I’m not precious about who writes about it – men or women – but at an event I attended recently at the BBC, it was generally agreed that there are fewer opportunities for women in the print media, particularly in sport, now than there were in the 1990s.

All that is for another article… but as for Women’s Sport Week, my views are still ambivalent.

From a personal point of view I loved it, and I was inspired by all the articles, tweets and blogs I saw. But then I’m pretty inspired by women’s sport anyway.

As for the wider populace, the jury is out. Perhaps its effects will only be seen long term.

What I do know is that I will be sticking around to see what happens and look forward to being a part of it.

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