SPORTS broadcaster, Gabby Logan, and Hannah Bardell MP have backed a new campaign by Women in Journalism Scotland (WiJ Scotland) to tackle gender inequality in Scottish print sports journalism.
The campaign comes after research by the WiJ Scotland committee revealed that, out of 95 staff roles on sports desks at national and regional print titles in Scotland, just three are filled by women.
The research was undertaken before an awards ceremony hosted on Sunday by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association, which saw TV sports presenter, Eilidh Barbour, and WiJ Scotland co-chair, Gabriella Bennett, walk out, in disgust at comments made during an after-dinner speech.
Logan said: “I totally support what Women in Journalism Scotland is doing to make sports and football journalism, in particular, a more inclusive place to work in Scotland.
“In 2022, there should be no barriers or discrimination to anyone who wants to enter our profession. And once there, they should be made to feel welcome and encouraged to excel – whoever they are.”
Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston and former broadcast journalist, said: “Huge respect to Eilidh Barbour and those other women who have used their voices and who have taken a stand to challenge this nonsense.
“Without them, it may not have come to light.
“If we really want structural change to tackle the fact that there are so few women and people from different backgrounds in sports writing, it’s going to take everyone, particularly the men, to step up and make changes.
“Now is the time for everyone in the sports world to take some real and meaningful action. We need better support for young women and those from different backgrounds to enter the field. We also need programmes and employers that are truly inclusive and see the value in different voices
reporting on sport.”
As part of WiJ Scotland’s campaign, two Masters students at University of Strathclyde undertook further research into inequality in the sector. Their research included interviewing eight women working in Scottish sports journalism and student journalists about their experiences in the industry.
Catriona MacPhee, co-chair of WiJ Scotland, who leads the campaign, said: “This is a watershed moment for the media in Scotland. We need more women’s voices and perspectives in sports coverage and, as an industry, we need to work together to make sure women have access to this sector and are not pushed out.
“One way of doing that is calling out sexist behaviour but there are practical solutions here too and we call on our peers across the industry to help us drive this much needed change.”
Gabriella Bennett, co chair of WiJ Scotland, said: “This new report confirms our suspicions about what life and work is really like for women working in Scottish print sports journalism, but it also drives us to bring about meaningful change.”
The new campaign features a number of ideas, including:
The first part of the campaign was to ring-fence five sports journalism mentorships with WiJ Scotland’s 2022 scheme last December. These pairings are proving very successful and it’s clear that mentoring has tangible benefits for up-and-coming female sports journalists, and something we hope to expand on.
WiJ Scotland has also set up an online community for our mentors, mentees, and sports journalism members and students for the sharing of opportunities, advice, links and to highlight work done by members.
Past attendees from our broadcast training workshops have told us of their success in sports broadcasting as a direct result, therefore WiJ Scotland is organising further sessions with media outlets to boost confidence, practise interviews and familiarise the next crop of sports commentators with studios, cameras, microphones and broadcast etiquette.
Women in Journalism Scotland’s co-chairs, Catriona MacPhee and Gabriella Bennett are available for interview.
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