HomeExclusiveExclusive: Visibility Of Women’s Sport Gets Olympics Boost

Exclusive: Visibility Of Women’s Sport Gets Olympics Boost

Exclusive: Visibility Of Women’s Sport Gets Olympics Boost

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport as part of the ‘Brand Break’ series, Getty Images head of creative insights APAC, Kate Rourke, discussed the rise and fall of women’s sport visibility and the role of the Olympic Games in boosting women’s sport.

Discussing her role and the Visual GPS platform, which is based of Getty’s 25 years of trend research and reporting, Rourke said authentically increasing visibility for women’s sport is a major focus for the organisation.

“My expertise is to understand and guide our customers, and also our contributors in terms of which visuals are most likely to connect with brand audiences,” Rourke told Ministry of Sport.

“I often describe it as the content strategy arm for our business, where we try to understand what is the content we need to be shooting, but there’s lots of different parts to what we are trying to do.

“Our whole piece is trying to move the world with imagery, video, still and illustration.

“We’ve been working a lot around diversity and inclusion as a business right across the board.

“Women in sport is a big part of that conversation and how do we visualise that more authentically.

“It’s something we’ve been working out for a number of years, we set out some guidelines because we know brands and businesses want to do the right thing.

“There’s a real drive to be more inclusive and see more visibility, but there is still that disconnect between what we’re hoping for or trying to do, versus what we’re actually seeing.

“The guidelines are to help brands and business visualise women in sport more effectively in terms of how they actually want to be visualised,” she said.

Reflecting on the organisation’s long-tenured work at the Olympic Games, Rourke said visibility of women’s sport tends to see large increases during Olympic Games but has a drastic drop off immediately after major events.

“Our Visual GPS research has different data points we look at to see some of the shifts,” Rourke said.

“The Tokyo Olympics was the first start of the shift we saw even more so, and we continued to see that at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“At the Tokyo Olympics, one of the data points we looked at was of the top 50 athletes downloaded in Australia and New Zealand, we saw an equal split between female and male athletes.

“When we looked at the volume of those downloads of the athletes, the women almost doubled the men, and that was pretty significant, and then for the Beijing Winter Olympics, we saw more of the female athletes have been downloaded versus the male athletes within the top 20.

“That’s really positive, but the big thing is as soon as we come out of these big events, visibility drops.

“This came from UNESCO, when they looked at global visibility when we come out of big events, globally it’s 4%, in Australia it’s 7% and if I remember rightly, in New Zealand it was 14 or 15%.

“It’s a tiny percentage outside of these big events, so it’s fantastic for women in sport visibility inside these events, but outside it’s not quite the same unfortunately,” she said.

Putting this thought into action, Rourke said sporting organisations and brands need to ensure they are portraying authentic messaging, diversity and inclusion for all genders and sports.

“When we look at all the research we’ve done, it comes down to the authenticity piece,” Rourke said.

“A big part of the research we’ve done, across men’s and women’s sport, is that they want to see more realism, more diversity, and more inclusion.

“It’s about really thinking about that authenticity piece a lot more and broadening out stories…

“Through our Visual GPS research, what we found was there were lots of reasons around what women want to see in sport, and one of them was wanting to see different body types, another was wanting to see different ages participating, something we don’t see very often, wanting to see all genders participating in sport.

“There’s a big piece around mental health, where they were saying they want to see sporting organisations talking about mental health, but they also said participating in sport was a huge benefit to their own mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s about linking the benefit of what sport can bring, and if we can tell all those different stories, it starts to normalise that conversation.

“From a diversity perspective, it’s have we included everybody and that’s thinking across different ethnicities, people with different disabilities, ages, gender, it goes on, and the inclusion part is then thinking about the how,” she told Ministry of Sport.

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