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A Letter from Sport Wales

08 Mar 16

 

Dear Everyone,

We are writing to express our concern at the future of media coverage of women athletes and sport in Wales. The recent decision by BBC Cymru Wales to decommission the Sport Wales programme is a further blow to the profile and visibility of women’s sport in Wales. However this forms part of a wider concern relating to overall coverage and visibility of Welsh female athletes and their sports across the Welsh media landscape.

We know from work undertaken by the Women in Sport organisation that despite the success at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, replicated at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, women’s sport accounted for just 7% of the sport we read about, watch or listen to in the UK and just over 10% of television coverage, which is owed in large part to coverage of women’s tennis. Whilst these figures represent a UK study, we do not believe that they are unrepresentative of the picture in Wales and are deeply concerning.

We recognise the changing way that the public are consuming their news, both current affairs and sport and we do not believe that a move to digital content is incompatible with a greater profile for women’s sport across the digital offer in Wales. Unfortunately what we have seen so far has been a replication of the same sports dominating both digital and mainstream media coverage. We do not subscribe to the view that there is no appetite for women’s sport or that using data relating to clicks, likes or shares is the sole measurement for whether a piece of content has a worth. 

We believe that sport plays a special role in Welsh identity. For so long it has defined us on a world stage, through the feats of a wide range of athletes. This heritage should be celebrated and the future World, Olympic and Paralympic champions given the spotlight. We believe that this is at risk if a rebalancing of coverage is not achieved. We have the success, stories and the population in Wales to lead the world in our coverage of women’s sport, it just takes the commitment to do so.

We hope that you will look at taking the necessary steps to structurally support greater promotion of women’s sport in your organisations and across your platforms, including:

Dedicated leaders for women’s sport that drive editorial in your organisations. 
A defined strategy for the greater profile for our female athletes and their sports on your platforms/publications. 
An increasing number of stories relating to women’s sport and female athletes across radio and non-news television programming, with prominence given to these on all digital platforms and print media. 

We hope that by International Women’s Day in 2017 we have seen some real progress in making Wales a beacon for coverage of women’s sport and all the benefits for the nation that comes with that.

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson

Non Evans (multi-sport)

Anne Ellis (Commonwealth Games Council for Wales and Welsh Sports Association)

Olivia Breen (athletics)

Caroline Spanton (rugby)

Jess Fishlock (football)

Frankie Jones (gymnastics)

Mason Carpenter (cycling)

Jazz Carlin (swimming)

Michaela Breeze (weightlifting)

Anne Adams King (Welsh Cycling CEO and former Olympic swimmer)

Helen Phillips (Commonwealth Games Council for Wales)

Suzy Drane (netball)

Sarah Jones (Welsh Netball CEO)

Sarah Powell (Sport Wales CEO)

Laura McAllister (Chair Sport Wales)

Nicole Cooke (cycling)

Sarah Thomas (hockey)

Jayne Ludlow (football)

Further coverage of this can be found on the BBC News Site

For those who speak Welsh:

7 Mawrth 2016

Rydym yn ysgrifennu atoch i fynegi ein pryder am ddyfodol y sylw ar y cyfryngau i athletwyr benywaidd a chwaraeon merched yng Nghymru. Mae penderfyniad diweddar BBC Cymru Wales i ddatgomisiynu’r rhaglen Sport Wales yn ergyd bellach i broffil ac amlygrwydd chwaraeon merched yng Nghymru. Fodd bynnag, mae hyn yn rhan o bryder ehangach ynghylch y sylw cyffredinol a’r amlygrwydd i athletwyr benywaidd Cymru a’u chwaraeon ym myd y cyfryngau yng Nghymru.       

Er gwaetha’r llwyddiant yng Ngemau Olympaidd a Pharalympaidd Llundain, a efelychwyd wedyn yng Ngemau Cymanwlad Glasgow, rydym yn gwybod oddi wrth y gwaith sy’n cael ei wneud gan y sefydliad Women in Sport mai dim ond 7% o’r chwaraeon rydym yn darllen amdanynt, yn eu gwylio neu’n gwrando arnynt yn y DU sy’n chwaraeon merched, gyda dim ond ychydig dros 10% o ran sylw ar y cyfryngau, a’r rheswm pennaf am hyn yw’r sylw i dennis merched. Er mai ffigurau o astudiaeth ar lefel y DU yw’r rhain, credwn eu bod yn cynrychioli’r darlun yng Nghymru ac maent yn peri pryder mawr.          

Rydym yn cydnabod bod y ffordd y mae’r cyhoedd yn cael newyddion, o ran materion cyhoeddus a chwaraeon, yn newid, ond nid ydym yn credu bod symud at gynnwys digidol yn golygu na ellir sicrhau proffil gwell i chwaraeon merched ar draws y ddarpariaeth ddigidol yng Nghymru. Gwaetha’r modd, hyd yma, rydym wedi gweld efelychiad o’r un chwaraeon yn cael y sylw i gyd ar gyfryngau digidol a phrif ffrwd. Nid ydym yn credu’r farn nad oes galw am glywed am chwaraeon merched nac mai defnyddio data perthnasol i glicio, hoffi neu rannu yw’r unig fesur o ran a yw darn o gynnwys yn bwysig ai peidio.

Rydym yn credu bod gan chwaraeon rôl bwysig ac arbennig yn hunaniaeth Cymru. Ers cymaint o amser, mae wedi ein diffinio ni ar lwyfan y byd, drwy gampau amrywiaeth eang o athletwyr. Rhaid dathlu’r dreftadaeth hon a rhoi sylw i bencampwyr Byd, Olympaidd a Pharalympaidd y dyfodol. Rydym yn credu bod hyn mewn perygl os na fydd mwy o gydbwysedd o ran y sylw a roddir. Mae gennym ni lwyddiant, straeon a phoblogaeth yng Nghymru i arwain y byd yn ein sylw i chwaraeon merched - y cyfan sydd ei angen yw ymrwymiad i wneud hynny.                               

Rydym yn gobeithio y byddwch yn ystyried cymryd y camau angenrheidiol i gefnogi gwell hybu ar chwaraeon merched yn eich sefydliadau ac ar draws eich llwyfannau, mewn ffordd fwy strwythurol, gan gynnwys y canlynol: 

Sefydlu arweinwyr penodol ar gyfer chwaraeon merched sy’n sbarduno sylw golygyddol yn eich sefydliadau.
Strategaeth bendant ar gyfer proffil gwell i’n hathletwyr benywaidd ni a’u chwaraeon ar eich llwyfannau/yn eich cyhoeddiadau. 
Nifer cynyddol o straeon perthnasol i chwaraeon merched ac athletwyr benywaidd ar raglenni radio a rhaglenni heb fod yn newyddion ar y teledu, a lle amlwg i’r rhain ar bob llwyfan digidol ac mewn cyfryngau print.                                                                                                    

Erbyn Diwrnod Rhyngwladol y Merched yn 2017, gobeithio y byddwn wedi gweld cynnydd gwirioneddol o ran creu Cymru sy’n rhoi sylw mawr i chwaraeon merched, a’r holl fanteision i’r genedl a geir yn sgil hynny.

Y Farwnes Tanni Grey Thompson

Non Evans (sawl camp)

Anne Ellis (Cyngor Gemau Cymanwlad Cymru a Chymdeithas Chwaraeon Cymru)

Olivia Breen (athletau)

Caroline Spanton (rygbi)

Jess Fishlock (pêl droed)

Frankie Jones (gymnasteg)

Mason Carpenter (beicio)

Jazz Carlin (nofio)

Michaela Breeze (codi pwysau)

Anne Adams King (Prif Weithredwr Beicio Cymru) 

Helen Phillips (Cyngor Gemau Cymanwlad Cymru)

Suzy Drane (pêl rwyd)

Sarah Jones (Prif Weithredwr Pêl Rwyd Cymru)

Sarah Powell (Prif Weithredwr Chwaraeon Cymru) 

Laura McAllister (Cadeirydd Chwaraeon Cymru)

Nicole Cooke (beicio)

Sarah Thomas (hoci)

Jayne Ludlow (pêl droed)

Further coverage of this can be found on the BBC News Site


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