Women's Sport: Inspiring women of sport on the biggest challenges for women in the industry

Mexico v United States: Semifinals - 2020 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying

Looking back on the last year a huge amount of progress has been made in women's sports with historic moments across the board for both players and fans.

In Spain, over 200 players in the women's domestic football league walked out on strike before signing a historic collective bargaining agreement ensuring holiday and maternity pay and a basic minimum wage.

Down Under, Football Federation Australia signed a landmark deal to ensure the Matildas earn the same pay as their male counterparts. The T20 World Cup final also saw a record attendance turn out at the Melbourne Cricket Club as Australia beat India in front of over 86,000 fans.

Yet, there remains some way to go in the fight to give women's sports and athletes the coverage and investment they deserve.

USA's FIFA World Cup-winning side are still fighting their governing body in an Equal Pay dispute that has seen Carlos Corbeira forced to step down as President as lawyers representing US Soccer said the women's side had "lesser physical abilities".

Front Office Sports used this International Women's Day to speak to some of the women behind the scenes in US sport to find out what the biggest challenges are going forward for women in sport. We picked some of our favourite responses from some queens of the sports industry.

Promote Women: Matina Kolokotronis, Sacramento Kings COO

"Our industry has come a long way in promoting women, but we can always do more. Women must know they are part of an organization that is dedicated to their success.

"Being a mother and an executive in male-dominated environments can be challenging, and the industry needs to continue to focus on workforce policies that ease the demands of parenthood on working families and affords them the opportunity and flexibility to thrive in the sports business."

Representation in the industry: Kimberly Miale, NFL agent and Roc Nation Sports general counsel

"Representation, representation, representation. Yes, strides have been made, but there is still a long way to go. I want to push the conversation from what does it take to break into this business into what does it take to thrive in it.

"It’s about having the representation across levels- from the C-suite to the interns. I’m lucky enough to work for a trailblazing female CEO [Roc Nation CEO, Desiree Perez], and I am inspired by her work ethic day-in and day-out. She sets the tone."

Action, not words: Brenda Andress, SheIS president and co-founder

"The biggest challenge is to tackle the chicken and egg conversation that often takes centre stage in a conversation around the business of women’s sports – do we need more investment from brands and media first or more butts in seats and fan engagement?

"We believe it is both – we must get the fan/sponsor/media to take action to support women’s sports simultaneously. 

"What action do we take that backs up our beliefs? This is a global issue, with so many different opportunities for us to change our world, and yet, we are seeing this kind of vacuum of “yes, we believe and support,” but we don’t take the next step into creating action."

Spotlighting women in sport: Michele Roberts, NBPA executive director

"Sustained public attention. Athletes and those who support them have to fight to keep the issue from becoming “yesterday’s news".

"When folks are made aware of the disparities, they almost always provide support. The 24-hour news cycle makes it tough to stay on the front page, but it’s critical that we remain on the radar screen."

Support young talent: Stefanie Rapp, Bleacher Report chief revenue officer

"We are starting with a small pool [of women]. The inequality of male to female goes back decades. This is something that won’t be solved overnight, but again, if we pledge to grow young talent, it’s something that can be fixed."

Over the next few weeks, GiveMeSportW will be shining a light on the women in sports we might not necessarily see or hear about.

Keep an eye out on our social media and on our website as we discover more about the women behind the scenes at some of the biggest sports organisations!

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