New Women in Sport Podcast: Why Nine’s Latest Move is So Important
By Sam Squiers
“No one cares about women’s sports. Women don’t like sport and men don’t like women’s sports,” he’d bark at me from the other side of the newsroom.
“So it’s a no Sam. It’s a no.”
It was the response I had come to expect in our morning meetings as a junior reporter pitching my stories for my regional TV station, but like a boxer I had my gloves on, my mouthguard in and was ready for a fight… a whole 10 rounds of it.
I’d pitch other angles to the story, interesting aspects I knew would make a good yarn, one that would captivate our audience and be the water cooler conversation around town the following day.
If that didn’t work, I’d wait until the naysaying decision makers were away sick or I’d pitch it again during the lull in the news cycle. This was usually around Wednesday when there were no more results-based sports stories to write and it was too early for weekend previews. They’d be desperate to fill the bulletin on those days and only then would they reluctantly agree for me to go off and shoot my story.
This was a daily battle for me when I first started out in journalism. I’d have to craft a way to tell the stories before I’d even craft the stories themselves. Stories, I felt were important to sport and that I knew people would be interested in.
The rejections would usually follow with some debate about how women’s sports weren’t commercially viable and would never be fully professional. I’d be forced to once again climb up on my soapbox in the centre of the newsroom and deliver an all-too regular rant on a future I could see for female athletes.
A future which, bit by bit, is now becoming a reality.
The inaugural AFLW season, two seasons of the Women’s Big Bash Leagues, the Australian Rugby 7s team and the Suncorp Super Netball Series has shown sports organisations and the public how successful women’s sports can be.
This week’s announcement by Cricket Australia of 125% pay increase to all female cricketers bumping up the average international player’s wage to $179,000 from July, has laid the foundations for female athletes to pursue a professional path in sport.
Women in sport are finally being taken seriously.
Looking back on the many battles I’ve fought for over a decade throughout my career, it’s with great pride that Channel 9 can see that future as well and is leading the way with the release of the first Australian women in sport podcast In Her Court. It’s a great honour to be hosting it.
Each week, we will be telling the stories of female athletes and tackling the issues they face, not only on the field, but in the boardroom as well. As new careers are born and developments made in this new era, we will be there to tell them all.
The voices of women in sport aren’t being sidelined nor silenced anymore, we’ll be putting a megaphone to them on “In Her Court”.
2017 may be a landmark year for women in sport but it’s really only the beginning. There’s plenty of work still to be done and In Her Court will be helping to get the job done.