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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Letters: Turn the page on all-male sport

Jane Martinson is absolutely right to argue that the media should take responsibility for raising the profile of women's sport (Why is the BBC ignoring sportswomen?, G2, 30 November). In a recent sports section of a Sunday newspaper, I found no mention of women other than an article featuring a female American skier who had accompanied another skier to his high school dance. Had the rest our sporting women taken Saturday off?

As a headmistress of a girls' school, I am determined that girls will see sport as a fundamental part of their lives. Studies have shown that girls who play sport have a better body image than those who do not and sport teaches young people how to understand and use their bodies properly. I hope it also teaches them, in spite of media coverage to the contrary, that a body which is decoratively thin is a lost opportunity. More female sporting role models would reinforce these messages, and a balanced sporting media can provide them.
Jane Gandee
Headmistress, St Swithun's school, Winchester

• Perhaps Jane Martinson could start close to home and hold a mirror up to the sports editor of the Guardian. Apart from the spread containing an interview with Sarah Stevenson and two articles bemoaning the absence of women on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the rest of Wednesday's sports section contains nothing about any women's sports. Nor, for that matter, did Monday's or Tuesday's sections. What percentage of your readership is female, and why the assumption that we only want to read about men's sports?
Carole Hall
Milson, Shropshire

• A half-page photograph on the front page of Wednesday's sport section and a double-page spread inside, lamenting the lack of female nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and the paucity of coverage of women's sports. There's even mention of this injustice in Shortcuts in G2. But no room this week for a report of the England women's rugby union team's victory over New Zealand. Shame on you.
Alison Hodges

• I've been working out which women should replace the men in the top 10 (An alternative list, 30 November). How about Charlotte Edwards instead of Alastair Cook (the world's No 1 batsman) or Keri-Anne Payne for Mo Farah, who only won a gold and silver at the World Athletics Championships? Sarah Stevenson for Amir Khan, the world-champion boxer, and Chrissie Wellington for Andrew Strauss, captain of the most successful England cricket team since the era of Peter May? Then I gave up. 2011 has been arguably the best year for British sport in the international arena for a very long time. Talented though your alternative top 10 are, they can't come close to the fame and success of those in the BBC list.
Stephen Perry

• A sensible feature of all student elections is the presence of RON on the ballot paper – Re-Open Nominations. It means we don't like any of the above, please find us better candidates. Could we all demand that the BBC put RON as one of the voting options for BBC Sports Personality of the Year? I am shocked that there is not a single woman on the shortlist, when your article pointed out how many world-class women champions we have!
Jane Mactaggart

• So Nuts and Zoo, perennial champions of female empowerment and no doubt ardent enthusiasts of women's personalities, fail to find any women to nominate for the BBC's sports personality of the year ('Disgraceful' all-male shortlist raises hackles, 30 November). That they are unfortunately not the only ones shows the depth of the problem. But then sport never was immune from the rest of society. Is it just a coincidence that the TUC's report on greatly widening gender inequality was published on the same day.

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