Getting to Equal: Women, Sports & Parity

Forty percent of all athletes are female, yet they receive just 2 to 4% of media coverage, according to the 2013 documentary “Media Coverage and Female Athletes.” How can we champion women in sports — and how can we also put these practices into play in the workplace? This was the topic of “Time Out,” a panel discussion in the Girls’ Lounge at SXSW 2018. “We’re in the end zone, but we haven’t gotten the touchdown yet,” said panelist Tina Charles, five-time WNBA All-Star player, about women achieving parity with their male counterparts, on and off the field.  Here are a few of the panelists’ top takeaways:
On how women can advance to leadership roles within male-dominated workplaces “I got very lucky at a young age; I had a male mentor who really believed in me and helped carry me through the ranks to get me where I am now… It’s about championing women and teaching them so that they’re growing and able to perform at the executive level.” ~Katie Myers, Corporate Brand Consultant, CAA
On how expecting greatness achieves greatness “I think what UConn has been able to accomplish through us is what we’re asking to happen today, for people that are in those [top] positions to expect greatness from every female there is, to open up those doors, to make sure you know that you are capable of achieving it.” ~Tina Charles, five-time WNBA All-Star player

Bill Moseley, Director of Marketing Communications, AT&T moderated the “Time Out” panel in the Girls’ Lounge at SXSW 2018.

On how reaching parity in ads is a business imperative At AT&T, we’re working with ANA and #SeeHer to track our insights. By changing the representation of women and girls in advertising, our advertising can perform better. Why? Because, when women and parents of girls see better roles for themselves and their families, they respond!~Bill Moseley, Director of Marketing Communications, AT&T
On how to make your voice heard even if you’re the only woman in the room “Be confident in your job, be confident in the skill set that you bring to the table, talk knowledgeably, and make sure your voice is being heard. You don’t want to scale back because you’re a woman; you need to speak out more, but do it in a respectful way.” ~Alissa Lieppman, Senior Director of Club Media Strategy, The National Football League
On the need for more male advocates “We need more men in the room talking about the importance of a gender-balanced team, of a gender-balanced coaching staff. We have to continue to push hard for that and educate why and take that stance. If it’s not happening in your organization, you need to figure out how to make it happen.” ~David Roter, Global Revenue and Partnerships, The Players’ Tribune
On why championing diverse hiring practices is critical to achieving equality “It’s about making real change. It’s about recruiting. It’s about changing your HR component. It’s about making everyone on staff accountable and responsible for identifying that you want to bring into your organization those who are different — not only gender, but ethnicity, background, faith, creed — because diversity is what salvation is for our future.” ~Chris Plonsky, Assistant Athletic Director at UT Athletics
Want to hear from more female trailblazers in the sports world? Watch soccer stars Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach discuss raising the visibility of female athletes, or tune into our Girls’ Lounge panel “Reimagining Women in Sports on and off the Field.”