Women in sports media face many barriers preventing them from reaching the top of the industry
Men have disproportionately dominated the world of sports media since its conception. An article from 2017 by Quartz magazine states that more than 90 per cent of sports anchors, commentators and editors are men.
According to Bleacher Report, when network sports television began airing in the mid-to-late 1940’s, it was a medium totally dominated by men and the idea of women speaking about sports on TV was considered “ludicrous”.
There is still a gender imbalance in sports journalism. However, a group of first-year Ryerson sport media students are on a quest to change that.
Casey Dobson is the founder and managing editor of Unbenched, an online sports media publication run entirely by women.
Dobson says that while it may seem as if women are treated equally in sports media, it is far from the truth.
“I think this is one of the few industries where being good enough isn’t enough as a woman,” said Dobson.
She added that women are forced to prove themselves to their male counterparts and have to go above and beyond just to be viewed as credible.
“It’s a really hard reality to come to terms with. You can be the best one in the room and it’s still not going to be enough to get you in the door,” said Dobson. “That’s why I created Unbenched.”
The goal of her company is to create opportunities for women who would typically be denied ones in the field of work. She is doing so by not denying any women a chance at writing for the publication, and helping them grow as a sports writer to help better their chances at pursuing future jobs.
“I would hope we could be part of a cultural shift that would lead to organizations like us not being needed in the first place,” said Dobson.
“It’s just constantly having to prove yourself to people, which is frustrating. People always question me when I tell them I want to work in sports,” said Mikayla Gurasci, first-year student and contributor to Unbenched. “Do you think they are asking my male counterparts the same question?”
Gurasci added that with a lack of women on screen or behind the scenes at prominent sports media companies, it is hard for young women across the world to see it as a potential future for them.
“If you can see it then you can be it, but young women aren’t seeing it right now.”