How local media organizations cover high school sports needs to change.
Throughout my time working for The Valley Reporter I have covered as many of Harwood’s sports games as possible. Most of the time I will be the only reporter at a girls’ event, but sometimes there is a second or third reporter at a boys’ event.
There is often no additional coverage at a girls’ event.
When people think about gender discrepancies in sports coverage, they most likely recall high-profile wage battles. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is currently arguing for equal pay with the U.S. Soccer Federation. And more recently the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team had to boycott the 2017 World Championships to prove their point.
Whenever these cases come up, the same excuse is always given that men’s sports generate more money because there are more viewers. Unfortunately, this makes sense. Up and down the media pipeline, boys’ and men’s sports get covered significantly more than girls’ and women’s sports.
Whether it is a local girls’ high school game, a college women’s hockey game or a national league like the WNBA or WHL, women’s sports coverage is treated as an afterthought.
The responsibility to fix the gender wage gap in sports is, at least in part, on the multitude of media and news organizations that cover them. In order for people to see girls’ and women’s sports as valuable they need to be covered as much as boys’ and men’s.
Think of how a girl must feel when she flips through a newspaper or turns on the television and all she sees is male athletes, even though she knows on the same day plenty of women and girls were outside competing and doing what they love most.
I don’t believe they think, “Well, men’s sports make more money.” It delivers the message that no one cares about women’s sports. So why bother?