I’ve been doing a lot of research recently into the way in which the media reports on women’s sport. I’m not interested in the frequency and quantity of content (which is a whole different article!), but in the tone in which they write about different sports.

What has surprised me the most is the rise and rise of one male dominated, historically chauvinistic sport, riddled with scandal and claims of ongoing gender discrimination. Not Golf, but Football. Women’s Football is one of the most widely reported on and positively engaged with sports in this country, yet for 50 years the FA banned (yes BANNED) its registered clubs from hosting women’s football games.

Before the ban women’s football was bringing in record crowds, sometimes more than the men’s games, and raising thousands of pounds for charity. It wasn’t until 1971 that the ban was lifted and the FA ‘embraced’ the women’s game again. It took a staggering further 26 years to put a plan in place to promote the game. In 2016 less than 5% of teams registered with the FA were women or girls.

Now imagine that was all you ever knew about women’s football. And that all the media ever wrote about was the discrimination women face and the barriers that there are to women playing football. Why on earth would you ever want to play?

#PressforProgress Pledge
#PressforProgress Pledge

I believe that this is the real issue that golf faces. People writing about the sport remind us time and again that golf is chauvinistic, that only 14% of golfers are women … blah de blah de blah. Even positive news is reported in a negative context! We need to change the narrative to create a more positive image. To see what I mean, just check out Top Sante’s golf article last summer where you’ll read “14% of golfers are now women – now we know the health benefits we understand why”.

This year I will be launching a project that will change the way that the wider media looks at golf. It’s a bold statement, but one I am committed to. Central to the whole initiative will be the wonder women who work in golf. Today is the right day to talk about this and my challenge to the Golf Media is simple – next time you decide to write about women and golf think about the person reading the article. Are you helping the game or are you simply reinforcing the negative stereotypes that surround it?