Women in the sports world: We deserve more respect

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Editor

Sports is something that is universally enjoyed by people of all kinds. While this rings true, it is a fantasy that sports create equity among the masses.

In reality, it marginalizes different groups of people, including women. 

One example of the inequities in sports is demonstrated by who is reporting the news in the sports world.

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An Associated Press Sports Editors report in 2012 revealed that the disproportion in the sports journalism field stretched wide in the areas of gender and race, as it showed 90% of sports editors were white males. 

Percentages may have changed over the course of eight years but these statistics are still relevant to my experience as the current sports editor at the Daily Egyptian.

When searching through the Daily Egyptian’s archives, I was unable to find record of a female sports editor in the past 20 years, let alone a sports editor who was a woman of color.

The lack of diversity in sports journalism is troubling because it provides audiences a one-sided view of sports and discourages minorities from wanting to pursue careers in the field.

As a woman who has been involved in sports for the majority of my life, I have seen first hand how the global institution of sports is problematic and unbalanced. 

When I competed as an athlete at both the high school and collegiate level, women’s sports were hardly ever mentioned, supported or marketed in the same way the men’s sports were, even if we earned more championships and held better records. 

This is still an issue today and the proof is in the pudding including flavors of the university’s attendance statistics, social media coverage, and marketing.

For reference, last week both the SIU men’s and women’s basketball teams competed in conference matchups at the Banterra Center and the gap in game attendance was staggering. 

There were 3,856 individuals at the men’s game, in contrast to 341 at the women’s game.

You could multiply the women’s attendance by 10 and it would still be less than the men’s attendance.

This is a major problem.

And little is being done to increase support of women’s athletics. As a sports journalist, I see the deep-seated roots of the issue. 

For one, when I attend games, I am the only woman in the room and the only person of color in the room. The environment being synonymous with that of a boys club. While classic “sports talk” was the topic of conversation, input from the lone female sports reporter was disregarded, if it was asked for at all. 

In press conferences during my first year as a reporter, my questions would be overshadowed by older male journalists who would talk over me. Being new to the job and also being the only woman, I can say such experiences were intimidating and discouraging. 

In my opinion, situations like these can prevent women from wanting to pursue careers in sports journalism and could be the reason the representation of women journalists in the field compared to men is microscopic.

In reality, women can be bigger sports fanatics than men and they can be more educated on game strategy and franchise trades. 

Just because a woman isn’t a man doesn’t mean we don’t have anything valuable to say when it comes to sports. Perhaps sports reporting and commentary should be judged on the basis of its accuracy, rather than the gender of the person it comes from.  

Sports editor Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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