Although sports media is still largely a male-dominated field, women have made many strides over the past few years in a bid the level the playing field, as is evident in the high quality nominations gsport4girls has received ahead of the 2012 SPAR gsport Awards.
Amazing Women in Media have been honoured since its inception, starting with Television Producer Melinda Lombard in 2007, followed by Television and Radio sports personality Renelle Naidoo in 2008, Metro FM’s Discovery Sports Centre producer Beverly Maphangwa in 2009, F1 columnist Natalie le Clue in 2010 and Print Editor Melissa Reddy in 2011.
“Being named the 2011 gsport Woman in Media was a major honour for me – not only did it serve as confirmation that I was working hard and making an impact in the industry, it was also a realisation that fellow sport-loving women had been inspired by my efforts,” says Reddy.
Football fanatic Reddy was the only female in an editor role in Kick Off’s history when she was named Deputy Editor of the Magazine, and before that she was the Head of Football for TeamTalk Media, owned by BskyB (Sky Sports), and still makes appearances as a football analyst for SuperSport.
“Being named the 2010 gsport Woman in Media was a tremendous honour and one of the greatest moments of my career. To win the award meant a great deal to me personally; I live for sport – it is without a doubt my calling and from my own personal perspective I don’t do this ‘work’ for awards,” le Clue says.
2007 winner Melinda Lombard says the greatest part of winning the award was the recognition for her role in a man’s world.
Lombard was the executive producer for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup South Africa, 2011 Rugby World Cup and 2011 Cricket World Cup to name but a few special events for the SABC.
“Women need more exposure in all media,” she says. “Women need to have agents to sell their images.”
Reddy and le Clue agree: “The basics would be to stop simply accepting sexism (of which there is plenty), stop perpetuating the notion that women are only around to look good (some big media corporations are guilty of this), women need to support each other more and celebrate each other’s successes more,” Reddy says.
“I think women’s sport needs a more pronounced and visible platform,” adds le Clue. “I think the only thing needed for it to excel in terms of popularity is to get into the consciousness of the fans. There certainly isn’t a lack of skill or excitement.
“Know that you are here because you have worked hard and made a valued contribution to sport in South Africa,” le Clue says.
“This is the start of something beautiful for your career, but it is also bound to bring in a lot of negativity from people, who believe that women don’t deserve the right to comment on sport. Push the boundaries, speak your mind, be brave, be brilliant and don’t dim your light because others are offended by your shine,” Reddy concludes.
The 2012 SPAR gsport Awards take place on 20 November 2012, at the prestigious Wanderers Club in Johannesburg.