Implement quotas for women in politics and women in sports coverage

The World Cup is over, but in this great blog post Afifa Aza expresses the same thoughts that have been running through my mind throughout the tournament.”So where are the women who are fed up with being excluded from national conversations on football? where are the women who think that football is not just a man’s game? where are the women who know they have something to add,to share?” I am quickly putting my hand up, along with many other Jamaican women! Thanks so much for this, Afifa!

Now that the World Cup is over, it is a good time to say what i have learnt and it is not about football. It is about what belongs to men and what belongs to women. Sports has a way of showing that divide sharply.

What i have learnt from CVM TV’s exclusive coverage of the FIFA World Cup is that football is for men. Football is the domain of men. For the entire duration of the competition, we had a male host with male commentators watching men play with occasional shots of their male coaches and one or two females in the audience crying laughing or cheering.( I am thinking more about how ideas of gender and sex function in postcolonial, colonial, neoliberal societies like ours.)

If you think about the recent motion passed in parliament by Senator Imani Duncan Pryce , to improve the representation of…

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7 thoughts on “Implement quotas for women in politics and women in sports coverage

  1. In the long history of the sport, whether the newer English version, or the nice not Chinese version, women playing it has a very short life. We can argue about why that might have been but not that it was.

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  2. The men’s World Cup was the only such for the better part of 40 years, before the U20 men’s tournament was started in the late 1970s, and then the women’s version in the early 1990s. Call the others by a similar name but they are not the same, and it’s not semantics.

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  3. I always see quotas as a final resort, to be avoided if at all possible. In most situations, quotas aren’t necessary if the requisite education, culture change, removal of barriers takes place. I think Afifa has put her finger on something. But I think she needs to go one step back. The recent World Cup was dominated by men because the recent World Cup was the World Cup of MEN’S football. So in that context, the predominance of male commentators, coaches, etc. is somewhat understandable. What we should be asking is, why is relatively so little attention paid to the FIFA WOMEN’S World Cup (which will take place next in Canada in 2015, BTW.) I think it is jumping the gun a bit to ask why more women aren’t commenting on the Men’s World Cup, before even asking why the Women’s World Cup holds so small a place in world’s psyche. It is somewhat surprising that Afifa’s post seems to adopt the prevailing view (also apparently held by FIFA) that the World Cup of Men’s Football is THE World Cup.

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    1. Narda, that is a very good question. Why is the Women’s World Cup so ignored? The women play the game with equal passion, week in, week out (although I’m sure they don’t get paid as much). I guess we are so brainwashed in Jamaica to think that football is simply a male sport, full stop. Points taken!

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  4. I would never take Jamaica as a point of reference for equal treatment, least of all on gender issues. It does not make sense. It’s a partriarchial society. Why else would CVM think it made sense to have an all-male panel discussion women’s abortion issues?

    That said, Brazil’s main TV sports station has a pair of hosts, male/female, who do the main introductions to football coverage. Not seen the UK coverage recently, beyond the WC, but, will check with friends there. The US has women covering major male sports onfield (football, baseball, basketball–including being in the locker room), though less in studios.

    French TV had at least one woman presenter during WC coverage, I recall.

    In sports, where the male/female games are near equals, the presenters are nearly at least equal (see golf, tennis, for instance).

    I cannot see how many women can talk that knowledgably about top men’s sports, except from a set of hypothetical positions. The major insight the men analysts come with is actual experience of the game. (I’m excluding the US, who put on good voices and faces who have no knowledge, and have been terrible.) Maybe, after the Clermont team in France has had experience with its female head coach, I would take a different viewpoint.

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    1. Not all male football commentators have actual experience of the game though, Dennis. In fact some former players don’t really make good commentators at all, in my view. I don’t agree with you – since men AND women play football (and other games) why can’t women be commentators on those sports? That’s not logical. Women analysts could also have “actual experience.” There was a woman commenting on the cricket not too long ago – a Barbadian I think she was – I think she may still be doing it, and did a good job I believe. Another game played by both men and women but I suppose you would call that a “men’s sport” too?

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