#WomensWednesday – Does the media have a big part to play in the way female coaches are treated?
This week, we want to discuss the role the media play in women’s sport and whether or not they have a large role in the lack of female coaches in elite sport. Being interviewed or reported on as a female coach is often a tough gig as stupid questions are asked, mis-representation of the truth is carelessly published and in the words of Becky Carlson – Fearless Coach there is a “merciless scrutiny of the female coach on everything from her looks, dress code, character and even sexual preference.”
In our recent article: What is happening to female coaches in the US Collegiate System?, we outlined just a few cases in which female coaches are being mistreated and treated differently to their male peers in the US. Whilst it is common knowledge that there are a lack of women coaches in the NCAA, it’s not so common knowledge that the number of women being sacked, suspended and xxx is on the rise.
There seems to be a ‘trend’ of reporting cases of female coach suspensions by using agressive images of the coach taken out of context and often these images and cases are used to generalise coaching as a whole. Take a look at a recent article in the Irish Times explaining the “manic nature of college coaching in US” with an angry picture of Coach Sylvia Hatchell.
Sylvia is currently in an on going legal battle after resigning with her University after racial allegations were thrown her way. However, in the last year, there have been countless numbers of male coaches ranging from the NCAA to the NBA who have been found guilty of athlete abuse, none of which are mentioned.
Other examples of the Media adding to the already difficult position when in high profile coaching roles are in are the increidbly stupid and often sexist questions asked by reporters. Check out this question asked to NCAA Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Muffett McGraw on the eve of the “Final Four“.
“[Baylor women’s basketball coach] Kim Mulkey was in here saying, ‘If we weren’t all competitors trying to go for the same thing, we’d probably be all friends.’ She said ‘Some of us would probably even be married.’ I know you’re married, I know Geno is married, but do you think you two would have a normal relationship if you weren’t competing every year for the same thing?”
Examples across the Globe don’t get much better:
Germany: Imke Wuebbenhorst, the new head coach for the men’s side at BV Cloppenburg was asked whether she had to wear a siren to warn players before she went into their locker room. Her response: ‘Of course not, I am a professional – I base my selections on penis length.’
Sweden: Pia Sundhage – former Head Coach to Sweden’s Women’s Soccer Team when asked if she could coach a men’s team: “Well, Angela Merkel runs a whole f***ing country,”
France: Amelie Mauresmo – it was reported in the media that when Tennis Grand Slam winner began to coach Top 4 ranking ATP player Andy Murray, “it was a joke [Andy Murray] was playing along with it”. On top of this, Mauresmo dealt with a lot of negative press during her career about her looks and sexuality.
- We want to know cases you have come across in which a female coach has been unfairly depicted.
- Are the media in part at least, to blame for the lack of female coaches at the elite level?
- Are some sports not recruiting female coaches because of the potential of media scrutiny?
- Are female coaches turning down roles because of a worry of media scrutiny?
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