The theme of this years International Women’s Day is #InspireInclusion, one of the best ways to inspire inclusion is through sport, unfortunately this is not always the case for women. Female athletes face multiple obstacles such as funding, training facilities and equal media coverage. This isn’t specific to Canada, or any one sport, it happens everywhere.
In summer 2023 the Jamaica women’s team had to start a Go Fund Me campaign just to be able to afford flights and accommodations at the Women’s World Cup. The team went on to place higher than any Jamaica men’s soccer team has at any World Cup tournament.
Then we have the US women’s team, the most decorated women’s soccer team, yet up until 2022 they were making less money than their male counterparts. Thanks to trailblazers like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan they fought and won equal pay for female soccer players in the US. This is of course after winning 4 World Cups and 4 Olympic gold medals, the men’s US team finished third once in 1930 and have never qualified for the Olympics. Kind of reminds you of how all of Canada got behind our men’s soccer team for qualifying for the World Cup in 2022, scoring one goal and being eliminated in the group stage. Our women’s team however are defending Olympic champions and weren’t even given adequate practice time or space to prepare for the Women’s World Cup in 2023. Oh and please don’t forget that up until about a month ago our women’s team was lead by none another than Christine Sinclair, the absolute GOAT of soccer and the all time leading international goal scorer for both men and women.
Far too often someone will make the argument that “there’s simply no market for women’s sports.” Pretty hard to make that argument when there’s almost zero media coverage of women’s sports. The PWHL launched on January 1st, I asked the Score if they would be adding this league to their platform, making it easier to follow the league and get up to date information, I was told this league would be “news only” for now. The last time this league was considered “news” was the first game, since then there has been zero new information, no scores, no updates, nothing. How can one argue that there is no market for women’s sports when almost no one is willing to support the market? I will say though, if you’re looking for a solid source on everything related to women and men’s sports, from NCAA to PWHL to Super Bowl coverage, I would highly recommend following the Gist.
These reasons are why our event on International Women’s Day is so important. Women’s sports and athletes are important. Gender equity is important and supporting women in all aspects of life should happen every day not just International Women’s Day.