More Women's Voices in Sports Broadcasting? Yes Please!
Nearly all the great moments in Australian sporting history have one thing in common.
Who can forget Bruce McAvaney’s superb call of Cathy Freeman winning gold in the 400m at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games? Or ‘centimetre perfect’ Dennis Cometti calling home Kieren Perkins in the 1500m in Atlanta 1996 and Susie O’Neill in the 200m freestyle in 2000? Just last year Basil Zempilas commentating the gold rush by Australian women in the pool in Tokyo - Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown and Ariarne Titmus. Iconic calls – none of which happen to feature the voices of women.
Before McAvaney was the voice of the Olympics, it was Norman May. Then there’s the voice of cycling, Phil Liggett, who was behind the mic for Cadel Evan’s 2011 Tour de France win. Les Murray was the voice of football in Australia. Gordon Bray – the voice of rugby. Ray Warren – the voice of rugby league. Richie Benaud was both marvellous, and the voice of cricket for many years.
What is not marvellous, is the gender imbalance we continue to see on our screens. There are exceptionally talented women enjoying great success in the media – Kelli Underwood, Sam Lane, Caroline Wilson, Johanna Griggs, Mel Jones, Annabelle Williams, Shelley Ware, Tracey Holmes and Daisy Pearce are just some who come to mind.
But, in one of the most visible components of our vibrant sport sector, it is not enough. The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation established the Change Our Game Women in Sports Broadcasting Program to help level the playing field for women in sports broadcasting. We partnered with two exceptional women who have had success in sports media and are now lending their expertise to help others – Emma Race and Lucy Race of Making the Call – and we are excited by the achievements already seen from the Program’s graduates.
The Program aims to develop knowledge, strategies and capabilities of women seeking a career in sports broadcasting, both in front and behind the camera, while also breaking down the barriers for women wanting to progress in this sector – and, reality is, there are those among us who face additional layers of barriers to chasing their goals in sports broadcasting.
Diversity in voices, in all its forms, matters. The people that bring us the great sporting moments should reflect the entire community of sports fans they are servicing, and that’s why this round of the Program recognises we must do more to level the playing field for all women. Our vision is for Victoria to deliver world’s best practice for women and girls in sport and active recreation. This includes in sports broadcasting.
We look forward to receiving your application.
SARAH STYLES Director, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation
Monday 28th February, 2022