It was the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Lyndsay Doyle couldn’t wait to see what unique women’s sport would grace her television screen.
“I remember feeling proud of these women, who were, you know, adults that are killing it out there, thinking they should be more visible, they should be celebrated,” said Doyle.
That one feeling turned into a question: where is the female sports coverage outside of the Olympics?
While 40 per cent of all athletes are female, they only receive two to four per cent of media coverage, according to the most recent study done by the documentary Media Coverage and Female Athletes in 2013.
These numbers enraged Doyle and drove her to begin a two-year adventure to draw attention to women in all areas of sport. Being a photographer for 15 years, she first decided to do a small photo essay. That evolved into a book she plans to launch this summer.
“I put a post on Facebook one night implying my intentions to put together this quick project, and when I woke up I had at least 100 emails, plus 100 comments [and] shares,” said Doyle.
A project with 10 athletic friends grew to include more than 70 women all over the country.
Doyle took photos of some of these women, asking for nothing but a name and age at first. But she found each woman’s story captivating.
Her book is written by the women themselves, each telling their own story in 500 words.
“If it took them a day, if it took them a week, a month, six months that was OK with me,” said Doyle.
The book captures women from 20 to 80 years old, from beginners to Olympians. Many are based in Nova Scotia.
The woman who made the most lasting impression on Doyle was Marion Cranston, an 80-year-old in Halifax who works out almost daily. She’s been involved with athletics for 60 years and has no plans to stop.
“Well, I can tell you I’m excited. I’m honoured to be part of the project, and that Lyndsay was interested in me at my age,” said Cranston.
Cranston hopes the book will encourage young girls to have the confidence to enter and stay in sports as they grow older.
Kristen Lipscombe, a freelance journalist and a former sports communications co-ordinator, said the public needs to show more support for players, in order for media outlets to want to televise more women’s games.
She said sports is a business so buying tickets to women’s games is important.
“Put effort behind the passion,” said Lipscombe.
Lipscombe applauds what Doyle is doing and believes, for young girls especially, “to be it, you have to see it.”
Doyle said it’s “really important” to show there’s something out there for female athletes, no matter their age.
After the book is published, Doyle plans to take on a 280-kilometre run across P.E.I. to raise awareness for women in sports.
About the author
Kate Woods is a journalism student living in Halifax, originally from Coldbrook, a small village in the valley. She loves books and hearing people...