Strategic communications experts are warning that the dialogue surrounding the future of women's sport post-COVID19 has to change, or else.
Heather Rabbatts, who runs strategic communication firm, Vero, told a Westminster conference that the language surrounding the issue must be kept positive, at the risk of naturalising the issue.
“There have been some commentators who have been talking about the real financial challenge that many sports across both men’s and women’s are now facing because of the cancellation of the sporting calendar,” she said.
“What I would be urging all of us to be doing in terms of our participation with women’s sport, is that the prediction that somehow women’s sport is now going to be passed over should be countered as strongly as possible.
“It’s important that it doesn’t become some self-fulfilling prophecy that the financial crisis will undermine the progress made, rather than all sports have got to face up to some incredibly difficult times, and we all have to work creatively to try and secure all of the sports we care about and love going forward.”
Rabbats also said that the values that women's sport highlights will grow in importance as society seeks to learn and adapt from the COVID19 pandemic.
“I think the momentum that was achieved by women’s sport, the values that women’s sport stands for across so many disciplines, I think will find increasing resonance in a world as we emerge from what are currently very dark days,” said Rabbatts.
“I would be urging – whether it’s rights owners, or commercial partners, or broadcasters – to continue to restate their confidence in women’s sport, and how women’s sport will continue to grow in the future.”