When I hear a conversation being held about sports by a group of guys, they often look at me surprised when I join in. They’re usually perplexed that a 21-year-old girl could possibly know anything about sports, let alone more than any man.
So my questions is – why am I, as a woman, not allowed to be well-versed in sports? You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “that’s not true, we don’t think that!” but riddle me this – how many sports journalists, on a national scale, can you name (besides Erin Andrews) that are female? Now, how many sports journalists can you name that are male? Exactly.
There may be a presence of females on your local sports network or news channel, but nationally the number has been scarce for quite some time. This attitude towards women in the sports industry dates back to the inception of ESPN, the first full-time sports network, when men dominated the workplace and very few women even wanted to step foot in the vicinity. The opportunities for women back then were few and far between, but those who did dare to step foot in the harsh environment that was ESPN, courageously paved the way for women in the industry now – including those of us looking to pursue that career path.
I’m not saying things haven’t changed since the 70s – they certainly have. But there are definitely still different expectations for women who are applying for a sports media position compared to the woman applying for a sports sales, finance, or marketing position, simply because there is a stigma that female reporters must be easy on the eyes. Whether this is fair or not is an entirely different conversation that society must take on.
Nevertheless, opportunities for women in the sports sector are now finally expanding, from professional to collegiate to international. You name it, there are women doing it.
This article isn’t designed to be a lecture on feminism, but rather an eye-opening piece for those of you who tend to question a female’s knowledge of sports. Many of us know our stuff, and more women are sports fans now than ever before.
To those of you who aren’t afraid to engage in a little conversation with men about your favorite team, athlete, or criticism of the industry, I say bravo and keep doing you. Knowledge really is power. You’re who we strive to make proud.