A recent UNESCO study highlighted that, outside of the major sporting festivals, about 40% of all sports participants are women, yet women’s sports receives only 4% of all sports media coverage.
This stat completely boggled my mind. I was shocked, yet wasn’t surprised. I had never watched any women play sports on TV and didn’t even know that India had a women’s team in football & cricket.
The lockdown came with a lot of it’s lows, but the silver lining was that I discovered women in sports. I discovered this entire universe that I had longed to be part of since the age of 13, and had longed to observe and learn from, much before that.
“Women’s sports receives only 4% of all sports media coverage.” UNESCO
Now it made sense, if I couldn’t SEE her, I couldn’t BE her. I also came to realise that the space of women in sports media & coverage is growing exponentially every single day. I knew I had to be a part of this, in whatever way I could.
I spent the next few months interning with various organisations, getting roles after cold emails and some by sheer happenstance! Still studying full-time I tried to make the most of my time bound at home.
She Talks Ball, was a project I developed and launched right at the end of 2020, sort of a culmination of all my learnings and experience that I can now take forward. As a young girl playing sports, I couldn’t see any pathway into sports. Being a professional athlete was almost out of the question so a broadcaster/journalist/agent or anything else was unheard of. STB aims to HIGHLIGHT stories and experiences of women in sport, with the intention of showcasing a pathway into sports and celebrating women in sports, surely we need a lot more of it.
So for someone who is just a sports fan, how can they contribute to elevating and empowering women in the sports industry? The three C’s –
COVERAGE – If you are committed and ambitious, volunteer for roles or get involved with the media side of things. Use your influence, knowledge and opinions to drive the industry in the right direction.
CONTENT – Not as driven to make this your occupation? You can create simple content like a tweet or post acknowledging/highlighting some aspect of women in sports. A simpler approach would be to just engage with content that has already been created! Challenge it, support it – expose it to your networks and, I’m telling you from experience, a few of them will stick around and further the game too.
CONVERSATION – Start conversation around women in sports! Celebrate their achievements, talk about them, make them household names and at par with the men. Today, my parents know the names of at least 15 women, imagine what our peers, juniors and the future generations can pick up.