Serena Williams playing tennis

Why isn’t women’s sport as popular as men’s?

Are you a feminist? Interested in sports? If so, this is the article for you.

We always hear about the Premier League, NBA or the NFL. News about sports is almost always male-centric: the headlines are usually about a huge football defeat or how Lewis Hamilton has won another Grand Prix, but you rarely ever see much about women’s sports. Of course, there are many notable female athletes – Michelle Kwan and Emma Raducanu are just two of multiple examples. However, women in sport are consistently paid significantly less - a study in 2019 comparing the highest paid male athletes and female athletes showed that Lionel Messi was paid $127 million, which was 335% more than Serena Williams, who was paid $29.2 million.

Part of the reason why women’s sports aren’t as prominent as men’s is due to the decreased coverage. Professor Cheryl Cooky commented “Men’s sports are going to seem more exciting. They have higher production values, higher-quality coverage, and higher-quality commentary. When you watch women’s sports, and there are fewer camera angles, fewer cuts to shot, fewer instant replays, yeah, it’s going to seem to be a slower game, [and] it’s going to seem to be less exciting.” Another contributing factor is prejudice – women are perceived to be weaker and not as talented as their male counterparts. Whilst it can be said that men have physiques built for sport, which can add to the reason why men’s sports appear more interesting, there is no reason why sports for women can’t be just as engaging.

On the other hand, tennis has improved by beginning to increase equal pay between male and females and now, all four major tennis tournaments award equal prize money. Women’s cricket has received some huge exposure as Katy Perry performed at the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. In the UK, 30% of the BBC’s coverage is of women’s sports and they have aired the FA Cup Final, FIFA World Cup, Netball World Cup and Women’s Ashes. In addition to this, the Telegraph has launched a women’s sports section. All these advancements promote women’s sports, and hopefully it will become more prevalent in future.

Sophia, LV