How Can the Media Affect Women in Sports?


The Gazette

Caitlin Clark displays the behavior that gained her a large portion of her notoriety.

The 2022-23 NCAA basketball season came to a close when the Louisiana State Tigers won the women’s March Madness bracket. One of the most prominent figures of the tournament, surprisingly, didn’t come from the winning team.

University of Iowa junior Caitlin Clark was arguably the most famous person in the NCAA tournament this year and continues to prove herself with impressive games such as the one that put the Hawkeyes in the finals of March Madness. With a staggering 41-point showing against Louisville, Clark was the first ever (women or man) in NCAA tournament history to score a 30+ point triple-double, in which a single player scores at least ten points, rebounds and assists. Winning 20 of 28 votes, Clark also received the AP Women’s Player of the Year Award.

For the first time in a long time, a female athlete is getting massive amounts of recognition, comparable to the notoriety many of men’s collegiate athletes. Since the start of the season, Clark has gained over 450,000 followers on Instagram. Iowa’s elite eight, final four, and championship games were viewed more than any regular season NBA game this year (9.9 million viewers). 

USA Today magazine said, “The natural comparison to Clark is Diana Taurasi, arguably the greatest women’s player of all time.” Diana Taurasi is the WNBA’s all-time high scorer.

Clark carried college women’s basketball on her shoulders and took it by storm to the general Iowan and the American public. My question is, why now? What’s so different about Clark that 9.9 million people tuned into the Iowa championship game? What’s so special about this Iowa team?

It all came down to the media. When the Hawkeyes started gaining coverage, women’s basketball as a whole blew up. One way to get women’s sports to the same level of viewership and respect as men’s is simply to cover them.

Any publication can have a huge impact on several lives. Hearing, “The basketball pictures are out!” walking down the hallways, or seeing students’ Instagram pages full of pictures taken from the paper cement the view media matters.

The difference between men’s and women’s basketball is not the interest levels in audiences but the interest levels in the media that those audiences are consuming. If the goal is to increase coverage of women’s sports, we as a society must start covering it. Posting about it, spreading the news by work of mouth, anything to promote it. If the general public can be intrigued, viewership will rise and we will give more female athletes the attention they deserve.