CBC Voices Commitment To Women In Sports

By Ben Hamill - March 09 2020
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CBC Voices Commitment To Women In Sports

It’s been famously said that focus, determination, anger, relief, a lot of the time disappointment even, are all part of the professional sports game, whether you’re a man or a woman. And even though gender equality in sports has come a long way since UNESCO first recognised playing sports to be a human right back in 1978, it still has a very long way to go.

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The fact that for example in the US, even though 45% of sports people are women, only about 7% of all sports media coverage is allocated to covering those women, continues to play a very negative role. The issue of representation, or rather a lack thereof, is no small contributor to the overall problem. Olympic moguls champion Jennifer Heil is a very good example of how “seeing it” makes believing it possible. Heil recalls having ran errands with her mother back in 1992 and upon having entered an Edmonton gas station, how she had unexpectedly seen a photo of US heptathlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee on a cover of Sports Illustrated. Seeing a woman perform her sport on the front page of Sports illustrated was all it took to tip the scales for Heil. The only remaining thing was finding her own Olympic sport, which she then duly did.

The CBC Priority Stamp

And in order to right what’s wrong with representation of women in sports in the media today, sports broadcasting network CBC Sports is doing its bit by levelling the gender-balanced coverage playing field, so to speak. It’s all about allowing young women to “visualize” themselves achieving amazing heights through sport, explains CBC executive director of Sports and Olympics, Chris Wilson.

Even though the network officially announced a new resolve to equally represent women in sport as part of this year’s women’s day celebrations, Wilson explained that fair representation has already earlier on become a definite priority in terms of acting as a decision-making tool regarding the specific events for coverage pursued by the network.

Creating A New Normal

And according to Heil, what CBC Sports is doing, is exceptionally significant. It’s all about seeing one’s self, as a girl, on television or on the web, day after day and week after week. Keep this up long enough, and soon enough, this will become the new “normal”.

CBC’s announcement regarding more effective representation of women in sport follows right on the heels of the launch of the network’s “I Commit” digital campaign, which is a initiative launched in partnership with Canadian Women in Sport that encourages audiences to together ramp up the overall support of girls and women in sport by posting their own commitments to the cause to social media.

It all starts with the individual, after all.

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