Last year 40% of all sportspeople were women and yet just 4% of all sports media coverage was of female athletes. This lack of media coverage is not only a great misrepresentation of female athletes but also impacts the number of sponsorships one receives. Ironically the media did decide to show up when female athletes such as Simone Biles decided to take a stand for their own mental health and step away from the Tokyo Olympics this past year. Perhaps instead of shaming these athletics, the media should be honoring them and their courage.
Simone Manuel is another Olympic gold medalist and she shared that while training she suffered from overtraining syndrome and depression. These athletes are not alone, on average women have a higher percentage of having extreme psychological distress compared to men. And while athletic associations like NCAA, NFL, and NBA are starting to have trained staff in mental health issues there is still a long way to go.
Female athletes have much to deal with within the sports gender gap. Add on the negative media coverage about their need for mental health and the need for change is even more evident. There is a great need for women to be treated more fairly both financially and respectfully as compared to their male counterparts within sports, and now is the time to begin the change.