Harriet Harman this week said that the lack of female sports broadcasters and players is “woeful” and called for government action.
She criticised the inequality in funding for male and female sports and demanded equal prize money for men and women in sporting competitions. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party told the Daily Mirror: “There’s an entrenched pattern of inequality that is more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. There are now a few women broadcasters but the journalists are overwhelmingly men. At every level – both about communicating sport and making the decisions about sport – it’s men running the show. It’s woeful. The Government doesn’t have a coherent strategy for sport in schools, let alone for girls sport in schools and they need to get a grip on it.”
Ms Harman said the inequality in sports would damage the UK’s chances of producing more female Olympic winners such as gold medallist Jessica Ennis. She has called on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee to hold a comprehensive inquiry into the issues. She added that although 36 per cent of Team GB medals were won by women at the London Olympics, women’s sport received just 0.5 per cent of the total sponsorship money.
There is also a difference in the winnings male and female sports stars earn.
The World Twenty20 cricket tournament awarded £618,000 to the men’s winning team while only £38,000 went to the female champions. Next year’s men’s FA Cup winners will get £1.8 million but the women receive £5,000. Wimbledon is one of the few competitions where the prize money is equal. Ms Harman also said it is time to end the loophole that allows men-only sports clubs, like Muirfield golf course.
She said: “We have clubs where women are only allowed in the company of a man. It is ridiculous and has absolutely no place in the 21st century.”
Ms Harman also called for the Football League, which does not have a single female manager, to change.
It followed the success of England football star Rachel Yankey, who last week beat Peter Shilton’s record to become the country’s most-capped player with 125 appearances. I urge everyone to watch Hope Powell’s England, who are in Sweden, ready to compete in Women’s Euro 2013.