Highlighting women in sports and media

Women are now the highlight of this year’s, World Radio Day, as the issue of gender bias against females in sports and media is explored around the world, including in Antigua and Barbuda.

 Veteran Barbados sports commentator, Donna Symmonds, speaking on OBSERVER AM, said, “I think that women’s sports does not get enough coverage.”

She added that this has long been the practice of many media houses and sports associations. Supporting her claim, Symmonds said that media houses focus more on presenting content that generates revenue.

Symmonds, who has been a sports commentator for over 30 years, explained that she has experienced gender bias as a female commentator but managed to overcome it with hard work and determination.

Director-General of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, said that UNESCO is working to improve the coverage of women’s sports to combat gender discrimination on the airwaves and to promote equal opportunities in sports media.

That it is not an easy task, she added.

According a report from the Global Media Monitoring Project, supported by UNESCO, only 4 percent of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sports. Women present only 12 percent of sports news.

 President of the Caribbean Media Workers in Trinidad, Wesley Gibbings, speaking on OBSERVER AM, said that although sports is a male dominated industry, female athletes should be highlighted in the same way as males.

He is encouraging media workers to be fair and said that there are more female broadcasters needed in sports. He stated that women are not normally seen as being a part of the teams of commentators in sports.

Despite the shortcomings, Gibbings admits that women in sports have come a long way.

“People are far more critical of female sports broadcasters,” Symmonds commented.

She added that women’s sports should be treated in the same way as males, and their achievements should be highlighted likewise.

Gibbings added that, “In terms of women and sports, even on the global level, women are rewarded less than men while men are given greater rewards than women financially and otherwise.”

 World Radio Day is celebrated annually on February 13. This year’s theme is dedicated to radio and sports. The campaign seeks to raise awareness by recognising radio and its contribution to the society through media discussions around the world and in other activities.

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