By Hayden Kulick
When I opened up The Athletic app this afternoon to read some sports stories, I noticed something. Not a single story I saw was written by a woman.
I had to scroll to the bottom of the page in order to find one thing written by a female staff member. Not only that, it was on NCAA wrestling.
Over 50 stories passed by my screen, all on more popular sports, before I was able to find at least one story written by someone who isn’t a man.
The problem isn’t just with The Athletic, it’s with all sports media outlets. Women have a severe lack of representation in sports media.
When women choose to pursue a career in this field, it feels that they are given two options on what they can do for a career. They can either be a sideline reporter, or be the sole female on a talk show that hardly gets to voice their opinion and just gets to mediate the arguments.
It feels as if women are limited on what they can do.
There are a handful of women that have gone past the standard though. For instance, Doris Burke. Burke is a former basketball player for Providence College that pursued a career in sports media. She is one of the best sideline reporters of her time and has transitioned into being an analyst for NBA and NCAA Men’s Basketball on ESPN.
Erin Andrews is another sideline reporter that has been successful with ESPN and FOX.
They are examples for women to follow, but they haven’t reached the top.
When it comes to beat writers for NFL, NBA and MLB teams, they are all men.
Being a beat writer for a North American Professional sports team is one of the greatest honors that a reporter can get when it comes to sports journalism.
Why can’t women achieve that title? It’s because the problem can’t be fixed easily.
A main reason why is because there are not that many women trying to pursue a career in the field. According to Zippia.com only 20.9% of the 7,000 sports reporters employed in the United States are women.
Even when they do get opportunities to do more than just sit and look pretty while men get to voice their opinions on sports, they fall victim to the male prejudice.
Women will very seldom get the chance to call a game. When they do, it’s always the same backlash regardless of how they do in the booth.
Just because of their gender they face this backlash from the “fans” and it prevents them from moving up in their careers.
Women need to have more representation in sports media but that can’t happen until the male fanbase eats their pride and accepts the fact that a woman can succeed in sports.