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Expert female voices still not being heard in sports coverage

Only eight percent of guest analysts on Sky sports coverage are women, even though coverage of women in sport has increased, according to new research.

The study out of Unitec Institute of Technology compared coverage of sport by Sky Sport in August 2013 and August 2018.

Research lead, Senior Lecturer in Sport Kylie Thompson, found coverage of women’s sport had increased by only 17 percent in the five years.

“Despite everything that’s been done in women’s sport today it’s only made up of a pitiful 17 percent of coverage (and) it dropped to nine percent with live primetime coverage,” Thompson says.

Women’s voices as part of broadcasting personnel for those live primetime sporting events are still not being heard, according to the study.

19 percent of commentators were women, 24 percent of women’s events had at least one male commentator and 95 percent of men’s events had no female commentators. 90 percent of women at these events are performing two or more roles.

But Sky Sport says its working hard to create pathways for more women in its broadcast teams.

“Over the past year, we have used over 30 female presenters and commentators on our sports coverage. Compare that to Mediaworks, NZME, Radio New Zealand and Stuff and there really is no comparison,” a statement says.

“SKY Sport is currently working to establish a pathway for the next generation of female broadcasters so that they can gain the necessary experience required to develop into world class commentators. It takes a considerable amount of time to gain this experience, but we feel we are on the right track with a number of individuals.”

Long-time sports journalist and founder of Locker Room Suzanne McFadden wasn’t surprised by the results. “I’m pleased to see Sky is making an effort…[but] that distinct lack of coverage in prime time of women’s sports is pretty poor,” she says.

McFadden says to improve coverage of women’s sports, more women need to be front and centre. “With more television coverage we will create more women icons, heroes and role models that young women can relate to. Hopefully those women go onto commentate.

“When they have that iconic status more people listen to them.”
 

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