gsport chartered into new territory with the hosting of a successful Momentum gsport Media Masterclass last Sunday. The skills-sharing initiative was hosted by gsport PR manager Lerato Malekutu and featured a distinguished panel of #gsport15 awards finalists in Natalie Germanos (Woman in TV), Lebo Motsoeli (Woman in Radio) and Lona Benya (Woman in PR and Sponsorship).

The webinar, which was attended by gsport Awards finalists, the global gsport community and women in sports enthusiasts, opened up important conversations around women’s sport and how to further promote the coverage and corporate investment.

There were several discussions that took centre stage, including; the lack of coverage of women’s sport, how to craft your career in the broadcast and PR space, finding opportunities to share women’s sport stories and the need for a more proactive approach in telling those stories.

Female empowerment in a male-dominated sports environment remains a concern and women in media or the corporate space are required to work harder, prove themselves longer to be given the credibility and respect they deserve.

SABC and Metro FM sports presenter, Lebo Motsoeli, hopes that the media space will continue to give deserving women in sports opportunities to further diversify the male-dominated industry. The consensus from the panel and participants was that there is a need to continue breaking down closed doors despite the obvious challenges of discrimination.

“It is possible,” Motsoeli passionately said of knocking down doors. “We are in the early stages, let us not be impatient. We are not dealing with a unique problem to South Africa, it is a societal problem, whether in sport or corporate, you still find that a lot of women are overlooked. I am hopeful and I am an optimist, and slowly but surely, we will be heard, we as women don’t have to force anything, our work speaks for itself. Let our work do the talking, we will get noticed.”

Motsoeli, who has more than 15 years of experience in the broadcast industry, is committed to profiling women in sports and does so daily on her afternoon sports bulletins on Metro FM. She believes a mandate needs to be put in place in order for all media platforms in the country to cover more women’s sport stories. She went as far as urging all female athletes, administrators and volunteers to come forward when they have stories to share about their successes.

Amongst some of the key tools for success discussed was the need of a mentor. While mentorship means different things to different individuals, it was agreed that the need for a sounding board, a different perspective, encouragement and support in the industry is important.

Corporate investment and funding remain a crucial factor in the promotion and coverage of women’s sport, which was evidently seen recently in the successful FIFA Women’s World Cup, Netball World Cup and ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which all attracted record-breaking numbers. Momentum’s contribution to women’s sport continues to raise the profile of the gsport Awards along with the Momentum Proteas, who have reached new highs after the introduction of central contracts. It was established that more needs to be done in terms of financial investment, but the responsibility lies with every stakeholder involved to bring about change.

ICC and SABC commentator, Natalie Germanos, believes the record-breaking ICC Women’s T20 World Cup was an example of the heights that can be achieved when there is a commercial investment in women’s sport.

“We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go,” she admitted. “Women held the first Women’s World Cup before men, they played in skirts and nobody even knew about the event. Yet this year at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, we had 86, 174 people at the Final at the MCG and millions watching around the world. That shows you how far we have come and the power that we can have if investment is put into women’s sport.”

In a time of Covid-19 and the rise of digital media, the need for effective brand management and personal PR has become increasingly important for athletes and personalities alike. Woman in PR and Sponsorship finalist, Lona Benya of Mabenya Sports Consultants has extensive experience in grassroots and rural coverage and encouraged all women in sport to remain inspired and to continue striving for their dreams and goals despite the challenges.

“If there is something that you want, go for it, don’t give up,” Benya enthused. “When you go to bed, you are the one who sees the vision for your dream, nobody can stop you. Create that spiderweb and network to be able to create and open up opportunities.”

The engagement from the participants on the webinar and on social media was lively and educational, and the best three winners to engage the #gsport15 hashtag were rewarded with data prizes.

It was an insightful and engaging platform and has stimulated the conversation to have more Media Masterclasses sessions in the future. There is a thriving community of passionate, engaged and knowledge-hungry women who are thriving in the sporting environment and it remains one of gsport’s mandate to promote and celebrate everyone’s successes.

Keep watching this space!

 

 

Photo 1 Caption: #gsport15 PR Manager, Lerato Malekutu, hosted the first ever Momentum gsport Awards Media Masterclass on Sunday, 16 August 2020. Photo: Supplied