According to a recent survey by BBC Sport, 84 per cent (450) of British sportswomen surveyed say they’re not being paid enough compared to sportsmen. Of those, 109 (20.3 per cent) describe their feelings about the impact of Covid-19 as ‘extremely concerning’.
The BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s Survey was sent to 1,068 women, collecting 567 responses from female athletes who participate in a range of 39 sports, discovering the difficulty’s women face in sport. Out of the 537 responses, 275 (51.2 per cent) class themselves as part-time athletes, considering the sports those who responded participate in are Olympic sports.
185 females claim they earn nothing from their sport, while 413 say their annual income comes from alternative sources. The survey also included questions which explored media and broadcasting, coaching and funding from governing bodies.
456 (85.1%) believe the media doesn’t do enough to promote women’s sport, which is supported by 463 (86.2 per cent) who think the media report on men’s and women’s sport differently. However, with that considered, 498 females claimed the media coverage of women’s sport has significantly improved over the past five years.
In terms of support female athletes receive from their governing body, compared to males, it was an even split, with 45.3 per cent saying yes and 48.5 saying no. In addition, the coaching women receive compared to men is deemed fairly equal, as 57.9 per cent agreed with the statement.
Predominately in the shadow of men’s sport, female sport has been notorious for being underfunded. Although, over the last 12 months female sport has experienced significant growth, especially at the professional level. Yet, that progress is likely to be reversed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Olympic gold medallist, Denise Lewis has said, “Obviously, when there is a crisis, you go to what you know, and it seems like the people who make the decisions are predominantly men, so they try to save what they believe their asset is,”
“That has been disappointing." Lewis claims women’s sport is being ‘neglected’ in the recovery process in the wake of the pandemic.
Asked about the impact of the coronavirus on women’s sport, 20.3 per cent state they’re ‘extremely concerned’, even though 64.1 per cent are determined to continue participating, despite the financial challenges their sport may face due to Covid-19.
Some argue the decisions made about how competitions were concluded was unfair, as the FA WSL and Women’s Championship was concluded by a points-per-game basis. Whereas, men’s football was permitted to be played behind-closed-doors.
It’s clear the virus has highlighted the differences between men’s and women’s sport, sparking debate as to how improvements can be made moving forward into the future.
Author: James Parker