IMBALANCE: THE GENDER DISPARITY IN SPORTS JOURNALISM

LAUREN WISDOM, TRUMPET FEATURES WRITER

Although there have been great strides made to give female sports journalists more opportunities, they are still treated as though they are on a lower pedestal when compared to men.

Imagine being told that one cannot enter a male sports team’s locker room prior to a game due to gender. In 1978, Melissa Ludtke was denied access to the New York Yankees locker room because of her gender. Later, Ludtke filed a “successful lawsuit against baseball commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, for violating her 14th Amendment right,” according to The Daily Titan.

Imagine if one is reporting outside an arena for a major sporting event and fans start to make sexual advancements toward them. During the 2018 World Cup, Julia Guimaraes, a Brazilian journalist, was presenting outside of the arena where “a man bounded up to her and attempted to kiss her,” according to the Washington Post.

Imagine being a female sports broadcaster. After a game a female had just presented, envision the negative comments directed at them on social media because they are a woman who was a voice during a male athletic event.

Being a female sports journalist is not easy. 

Growing up, it seemed as though men were more passionate about sports than women. Men played more sports, and they were the voices we have seen and heard on camera while watching a sporting event. However, over the years, more women appeared to be getting involved in sports journalism.

Jessica Mendoza, a former professional softball player who is now a baseball analyst for ESPN,  became the first woman to work as an analyst in a Major League Baseball postseason matchup in the 2015 Wild Card game where the Houston Astros rose above the New York Yankees, continuing on to the American League Division Series. Unfortunately, fans were not pleased with her performance.

A tweet from the social media application Twitter that was included in the article, said, “She adds nothing. A color [commentator] is someone who actually played the game! She’s horrible and shouldn’t be there,” according to the Guardian. 

As a softball player, the aspects of the game are pretty similar to baseball. There are some differences, but the overall idea of the game is the same. Mendoza may not have played baseball, but she was one of the greatest professional softball players in the game, making her very knowledgeable on the game and can add valuable insight to the baseball broadcast.

Resources are available for research, but females may have to put in more work than men do in order to be taken seriously, according to an interview done by NBC News with Lindsay Jones, a sports reporter for USA Today who has written about the National Football League for 10 years.

Despite the negativity online and sexual advancements that are made toward women, Mendoza told the Washington Post that “having more women broadcast games might broaden the appeal of the games,” and that “Women that don’t watch sports would want to watch sports if they felt like they were being spoken to more.”

Men are not the only people in the world who have an interest in sports. There are women out there who understand how some sports are played and are educated enough to have those types of conversations with the men who think they know it all. 

Let more women take the lead in a broadcast, let more women be in front of the camera at a men’s sporting event, let more women have an opportunity to do the jobs that their male colleagues are doing. Women have proven that they can hang tough in a conversation with men about sports. Most times, men appear to be shocked that a woman knows certain statistics about a team, individual player or a background story that is not always broadcasted.

Give women the chance to prove to others that there is a place for them in sports journalism.

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