10 things I learned from workshop about female athletes & role of media #CoveringFemaleSports

Last month, I participated in a workshop organized by Right to Play (Pakistan office) for athletes, journalists & bloggers. Initially, my plan was to talk about workshop, theme and other details. But, after giving it a thought, I opted to write about my experience and learning from this wonderful workshop. So, here you go:

  1. Sports industry is one industry that can make a society healthy, happy and fit. But, that health, happiness and fitness can’t be achieved by ignoring female sports. πŸƒβ€β™€οΈTrust me. Even if you don’t, that’s the reality.
  2. After participation in this workshop, I realized that covering female sports is an issue not only in Pakistan particularly but also a problem globally. And, this issue can only be addressed through mutual efforts. πŸ’¦
  3. However, role of media is crucial in promotion of female sports. More better coverage of women in sports is important to create a positive image. βœ…
  4. So, what does coverage or broadcast of women in sports mean? It does not mean talking about only international events where women take part in. This should be based on awareness campaigns for female sports. There can be general topics like life of a female athlete, strengthening school level sports, appreciating local sports events and many more.
  5. One of the interesting points discussed, was the ways women in sports are given coverage. When men in sports win matches, it is owned by media e.g. our boys won the match. But women in sports is more about their sports gear.
  6. Have I talked about women sports professionals who can play major role in this area? Yes! it’s about not only athletes but also sports commentators, reporters, coaches, analysts, viewers and many more. General perception is that these women can’t talk really about technical stuff but this perception can be lessened by bringing in more sports professionals.
  7. One major area that needs to be focused is safety of women. Women journalists in sports face a lot of online harassment and abuse.Β πŸ›‘ And, if they are doing a show, more focus would be on how do they look then what do they talk. This can be only reduced if we have more number of women in this area because gender balance will help tremendously. Female sports journalists including Zainab Abbas, Fatima Saleem and Sawera Pasha came forward with solutions.
  8. There are so many issues globally faced by women in sports. Female athletes and journalists should come together creating a strong network to resolve them. They can make really big difference. They can help each other in making stories but the real struggle of women in sports.
  9. What media can do in this regard? I was really expecting a motivational video song to be released before sending Girls in Green to Malaysia for Asia Cup 2018. So, did you get the point? We really need to find creative ways where audience and women in sports can make connection and that is going to be emotionally beautiful and convincing. πŸ“
  10. These kinds of workshops really work well. You know how:
    1. Kiran khan – 9 times international Gold medalist met Iqra (Table tennis player) in this workshop & got to know about her story. Now, she has started a cause to support athletes. πŸ™Œ
    2. Faizan Lakhani – A sports journalist has talked about shared a report about female squash player.
    3. We got to know about challenges faced by female sports journalists in US through Anya Alvarez, Jayme Moye & Julie Dicaro. They shared their experiences and ways to tackle harassment & abuse in sports industry. It was great knowing them. Keep it up girls πŸ’ͺ
    4. Last but not least, our group got second position in the activity ‘Pitch a story of female athlete’ presented by Fatima Saleem πŸ‘

Last but not least, thank you to Right To Play , Women win & Sana Mahmud for the invite. It was great meeting you all. Find general event coverage updates here & my twitter coverage about event here: Mountain girl on Twitter for #CoveringFemalSports

What are your views about women in sports and their promotion. Do write in comments.

You can also tweet to me at saimakarim89 as well.

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