Australia Increases TV Coverage of Women’s Sports And The Buccaneers’s New Coaches
Australia’s Decision to Increase Their TV Coverage of Women’s Sports Has Led to a Huge Surge in Interest From the General Population
By Charlotte Price
Australia has been making many strides in an effort for women’s equality through media and sports.
According to new research, over half of the Australian population now follows women’s sports on TV and attends games. An almost 50 percent rise that can be attributed to Australian networks as they have expanded their coverage of women’s sports. The research reveals a 48% increase in interest in women’s sports from last year, and now about 53% of Australians watch or attend women’s matches. These networks have also focused on showing more positive portrayals of women and their hard work, abilities, and skill. The main sport that is being followed is cricket, which 2.5 million Australians tuned in on TV and online to follow this season’s opening Women’s Big Bash League match. The matches have attracted a national audience of more than 200,000 people.
The impact is already being seen in the increased participation of young Australian girls in school sports. Governing body Cricket Australia say they’ve overseen a 288 percent increase in schools participation across the country, with 73 new girls’ competitions launched in the last two years alone. With more and more role models to look up to on television, more young girls than ever before are being encouraged to play, thanks to greater exposure and the rise of high-profile athletes, such as football star Sam Kerr, AFLW players Brianna Davey and Moana Hope, and champion cricketers like Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry. Ellyse Perry also said in a Guardian article that “It’s fantastic to see increased support for women’s cricket and I can feel women and girls are changing the game,… increased exposure and continued investment into women’s cricket helps inspire girls across the country, from grassroots to elite, to pick up a bat and ball.”
Moves are also afoot in Australia to close the gender pay gap for elite women athletes. It is believed to be the first time in the world that leaders of competing sporting codes and clubs have united on the issue. The Male Champions of Change (MCC) in Sport group released their “Pathway to Pay Equality” initiative, detailing specific actions needed to close the gender pay gap. The initiative brings together 17 Australian sporting chief executives who are eager for change. Founder of MCC Sport, Elizabeth Broderick, said in an article that sport is not only a game, but plays a “critical role in Australia’s economy, national identity, social cohesion and community wellbeing”.
To read the official “Pathway to Pay Equality” initiative, click here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Become First NFL Team to Have Two Full-time Female Assistant Coaches
By Charlotte Price
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers has become the first NFL team ever to have two full-time female assistant coaches: Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust. Bruce Arians has a history of hiring women, first when he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and made Jen Welter the first female NFL coach in history. Now, as he has moved onto head coach of the Buccaneers, he has made two more significant hires. Javadifar is the assistant strength and conditioning coach, and Locust is the assistant defensive line coach. These women are the first full-time female coaches in the Buccaneers’ franchise history.
Head Coach Arians said in a CNN interview: “I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game. I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program.”
These two women have lots of experience in their jobs and are more than fit for this new position.
Lori Locust comes to the Buccaneers after working as the defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football during the league’s inaugural season this spring. In 2018, Locust was a defensive coaching intern for the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s training camp and, from 2017-18, worked as a defensive line/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.
Maral Javadifar most recently worked as a physical therapist at Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle, after completing her Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Virginia Commonwealth in 2018. Prior to her time at VCU, Javadifar worked as a physical therapist and performance trainer in Virginia, while also serving as a guest lecturer at George Mason University.