According to the Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan in 2005, the number of women in sports journalism fell from 17.2 percent to 9.8 percent between 2012 and 2014. This male dominated field has been very challenging for women to gain entry, putting pressure on the women afforded the title to establish a strong female presence. Their commitment to great journalism in a field denied to so many women before them is unmatched.
What we saw at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this year is what happens when female sports journalists start shutting down the sexism they’ve had to endure for decades.
The #LetHerWork Movement
In late June, billions of television viewers watched as Brazilian reporter, Julia Guimaraes, conducted a live report from the World Cup. Mid report, a man approached and attempted to kiss her on the cheek, something we’ve all gotten used to seeing over the years. What made this instance of sexual harassment stand out was that the reporter not only dodged the kiss, but she reprimanded the man on live television, pointing out how disrespectful and impolite his action was. She has since been vocal about how this needs to change.
In another recent example from the 2018 World Cup, Columbian journalist Julieth Gonzalez Theran, reporting live from Moscow, had her breast grabbed and cheek kissed by a fan in a case of blatant sexual assault. She too, has spoken out about the prevalence of sexual harassment in sports journalism.
Many female sports reporters have banned together to create a video campaign under the slogan #LetHerWork, to bring attention to the prevalence of on-air assaults.
We’re living in a time where people are calling out sexual discrimination, harassment and assault more than ever around the globe. The stories that used to be swept under the rug are now gathering in the public arena that is social media. The breadth and depth of these stories is painting a clearer picture of gender inequality around the world.