While flicking through Stylist Magazine the other day, I stumbled upon a campaign that they’re running to end sexism in sport, and more specifically the bias in the media towards men’s sport. The following, statistics have led them to launch a petition calling for the issue to be discussed in the House of Commons, after an initial request to the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, to launch an enquiry into the coverage of women’s sport in the UK, was denied.
- Only 5% of sports media coverage features women
- For every 53 articles written about sporting men, there is one about a woman
- Women’s sport receives only 0.5% of the total sponsorship income into sport (men get 62.1%)
I found these statistics both shocking, yet unsurprising. Being a female snowboarder, I’m more than accustomed to being involved in a male dominated sport. However, while there are slight differences between men and women’s snowboarding (there is much debate as to whether or not women should ride the same courses as men), they do receive a similar (although not equal) level of exposure in the media when it comes to competitions. This is largely thanks to the standard of today’s female riders. With the likes of Kelly Clark going as big as some of the men, they are just as incredible to watch as their male counterparts.
Sadly the balance isn’t quite as even in other areas of snowboarding media and women don’t feature too heavily in the majority of mainstream edits, films or magazines, all of which are a fundamental part of the sport today.
However, women within the sport are starting to raise their own profile and there are a handful of production companies, organisations and websites which cater to the (not unsizeable) female snowboarding population, with more emerging all the time.
Cooler Magazine, part of the massive action sports media group, Mpora, which publishes Whitelines and Onboard snowboarding magazines, has been providing action sports loving women with their own dedicated magazine for several years now.
New on the scene is Coven Magazine, an independent quarterly for women which combines action, art and adventure. Issue two is just out and features everything from women’s surfing, skateboarding and motocross, to fashion, art and a fair trade safari in Kenya. Check out the website to view the magazine online or find your nearest stockist, to pick up a hard copy.
While the big female orientated brands, such as Roxy, have been producing promotional edits featuring their sponsored riders for a while, female riders haven’t had much of a presence in full length snowboarding films. However, this is changing thanks to production companies such as Lipstick Productions who last year released the awesome, full length film ‘5 more minutes… please?!’ which features only female European riders, such as Basa Stevulova, Aimee Fuller, Sina Candrian, Conny Bleicher, Aline Bock and Tini Gruber. They recently released the teaser for the follow up, ‘Eurotic’ and it looks like it’s going to be every bit as good as the last!
Some other sites and organisations which represent female boarders are Women in Boardsports, Girly Legs, Powder Room, and Chix Shred. And then there are the brands such as Roxy, Nikita, Volcom and Burton who also run sites dedicated to female shredders.
So, perhaps female snowboarders are fairly well represented in the media compared to other sports, such as football and rugby. But this is undoubtedly testament to the tenacious female riders who are determined to go as big as the men and refuse to be relegated to easier courses (Canadian rider, Spencer O’Brien has been quite outspoken on the subject – see her blog post on the subject), and also thanks to female riders in the media who are determined to give themselves, and their heroines, a voice.
What do you think? Are women in board sports well represented in the media compared to other sports, or do you think they should have more of a presence? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts and get a discussion going…
If you want to support Stylist’s ‘Fair Game’ campaign, click here to sign their petition.