The Women’s Sport Trust believes women in the sporting environment should be judged by their sports appeal and not sex appeal. We’ve been working with Getty to establish visual standards for the depiction of sportswomen which focus less on what women look like and more on what they achieve.
At a time when so much great work is being done to raise the visibility and increase the impact of women’s sporting role models, it’s disappointing to see that some of the highest profile international sporting events such as motor racing, cycling and boxing, still choose to use women to accessorise their events rather than be a central part of a sport.
What sort of message are we sending women and girls about how they are valued? We’re asking them to look and admire the successful, talented, strong men taking part in the competition, whilst the role of the women is purely based on their physical appearance.
Whilst respecting a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body, we believe there is a clear role for every kind of woman and girl within sport – excelling, competing and winning medals. We want sport to be a place where women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds feel welcome and able to actively participate.
Sport mirrors and magnifies society. If we depict women in sport in a way that reinforces a narrow stereotype, we add to the pressure young girls in particular feel to look and act a certain way. If we depict women in a central, powerful and sporting role, we create a positive, modern and accurate image to inspire others.
We’re confident that the more saavy marketeers and sponsors will recognise that in the 21st century, the presence of grid girls is unacceptable and off-putting for many men and women. By continuing the outdated practice, the likes of boxing, cycling and motor racing are potentially missing out on an opportunity to engage new audiences and excite new fans.
Women’s Sport Trust